Myanmar”s UN ambassador made a dramatic speech to the UN General Assembly voicing his opposition to the military coup in his country.
Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun appealed for the “strongest possible action from the international community” to restore democracy, drawing loud applause from diplomats from the world body’s 193 nations.
Tun urged all countries to issue public statements strongly condemning the military coup and ask its leaders to respect the elections in November won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party.
“It is time for the military to immediately relinquish power and release those detained,” he said. “We will continue to fight for a government which is of the people, by the people, for the people.”
The surprise statement drew commendations from speaker after speaker including from the European Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the new US ambassador.
The assembly meeting was called to hear a briefing from the UN special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, who said it is “time to sound the alarm” about the coup.
She pointed to restrictions on internet and communication services, and the detention of about 700 people according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Myanmar.
The February 1 military takeover in Myanmar shocked the international community. Suu Kyi’s party would have been installed for a second five-year term that day, but the army blocked Parliament from convening and detained her and other top members of her government.
Myanmar’s military says it took power because last November’s election was marked by widespread voting irregularities, an assertion that was refuted by the state election commission, whose members have since been replaced by the ruling junta.
The junta has said it will rule for a year under a state of emergency and then hold new polls.