On 1 February, amid a communications blackout, leading political leaders in Myanmar were detained, and the military took over the country's administration. Power has now been handed over to military chief Min Aung Hlaing, while leading members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party, including State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi, have been placed under house arrest.
But as the global clamour for Myanmar to uphold democratic ideals continues to grow, officials have justified their actions as being "inevitable." While the NLD had secured a landslide victory in the November 2020 elections, the army contends that the detentions are a response to "election fraud."
"This way was inevitable for the country and that's why we had to choose it," a report quoted General Min Aung Hlaing as stating via the military's official Facebook page on Tuesday.
According to reports, the army, known as Tatmadaw, is now busy forming a fresh government. Late on Tuesday, the Office of the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services announced the formation of a new 11-member State Administration Council, chaired by the General.
According to a Xinhua report, the newly formed council has already announced new appointments for several posts, including that of union attorney-general, union auditor-general, governor of the Central Bank of Myanmar, and chairmen for numerous administration councils. The council has relieved the deputy attorney-general of his duties.
Monday's detentions took place early in the morning, just hours before a new session of parliament was set to convene. With flights grounded and communications largely cut, Myanmar has been plunged back into isolation and darkness, and is presently under a one-year State of Emergency.
While the global community, including the US and India, has condemned the situation, it must also be remembered that, in recent years, Aung San Suu Kyi has fallen from grace as an international peace icon.
Her standoff with the military comes against the backdrop of her support and defence of their actions in recent years. With many once-staunch supporters sorely disappointed, it is unclear whether the people of Myanmar will once again take to the streets to lend support to her party and protest dictatorship.
(With inputs from agencies)