Myanmar Generals Defend Coup, Dismiss Impact of U.S. Sanctions

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Myanmar Generals Defend Coup, Dismiss Impact of U.S. Sanctions” – below is their description.

    Myanmar’s junta again defended its move to oust the civilian government in the face of nationwide protests, dismissing the impact of U.S. sanctions while showing no signs of a compromise with demonstrators.

    Brigadier-General Zaw Min Tun, the lead spokesman for the State Administration Council, said Tuesday the military’s actions were in line with the 2008 constitution and “not a coup.” He added that the regime was taking steps to fight Covid-19 and wanted to attract foreign investment, while seeking to discredit protesters by showing videos of violence against authorities.

    “To ensure democracy and prosperity, people should cooperate with us without being emotional,” Zaw Min Tun said in the military’s first official press briefing since the Feb. 1 coup. He said the junta would proceed with an election according to its timeline while “trying not to be violent as much as possible.”

    The remarks signal Myanmar’s army is looking to improve its image after tens of thousands of people have hit the streets in defiance for more than a week, including on Tuesday, drawing support from democracy activists in Asia and Western governments. U.S. President Joe Biden sanctioned coup leader Min Aung Hlaing and other top generals while foreign investors have reassessed plans to put money in the country.

    Zaw Min Tun said the generals expected sanctions and dismissed their impact, saying it had experience of such things when Myanmar faced international isolation prior to its shift toward democracy a decade ago.

    “We will make sure to keep good terms with the UN and all the countries,” he said. “Our council is trying to strengthen ties with all countries.”

    The regime shut down the internet for a second straight night, part of efforts to disrupt telephone and internet access to prevent demonstrators from organizing. They have also made changes to the telecommunications law to impose harsher prison sentences for illegal online activity, while also granting themselves new powers to intercept communications and detain dissidents.

    Myanmar’s military leaders have struggled to gain control of the streets since ousting the government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won a landslide victory in November elections. She has urged the country’s 55 million people to oppose the army’s move, calling it “an attempt to bring the nation back under the military dictatorship.”

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  • In This Story: Myanmar

    Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 ethnic groups, bordering India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. Yangon (formerly Rangoon), the country’s largest city, is home to bustling markets, numerous parks and lakes, and the towering, gilded Shwedagon Pagoda, which contains Buddhist relics and dates to the 6th century.

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