Britain slams Myanmar bullying over London embassy standoff

London, Apr 08 (AFP):
Britain on Thursday condemned “bullying” by the Myanmar junta after the country’s ambassador to London was ousted in an extraordinary diplomatic coup after calling for the release of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Diplomats loyal to the Myanmar military authorities seized control of the embassy on Wednesday, leaving ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn locked out in the street. The ambassador said the defence attache had taken over the mission in “a kind of coup”, two months after the military seized power in Myanmar. Daily protests demanding a return of democracy have rocked the country and brought a brutal response from the armed forces, with almost 600 civilians killed according to a local monitoring group. The coup prompted several high-profile diplomatic defections, including the country’s ambassador to the United Nations. The junta recalled Kyaw Zwar Minn last month after he issued a statement urging them to release Suu Kyi and deposed civilian President Win Myint.
British foreign minister Dominic Raab tweeted his support for the ambassador, who spent the night in his car outside the embassy.
“We condemn the bullying actions of the Myanmar military regime in London, and I pay tribute to Kyaw Zwar Minn for his courage,” Raab wrote.
“The UK continues to call for an end to the coup and the appalling violence, and a swift restoration of democracy.”
UK sources said the Myanmar authorities had given official notice of Kyaw Zwar Minn’s termination as ambassador, and in line with diplomatic policy the government had no choice but to accept it.
Protesters gathered outside the mission with the ousted ambassador, who told the Daily Telegraph that “when I left the embassy, they stormed inside the embassy and took it.”
Asked who had taken over, he replied: “Defence attache, they occupy my embassy”.
The defence attache has installed deputy ambassador Chit Win as charge d’affaires.
Myanmar’s military spokesman Zaw Min Tun confirmed the country’s foreign affairs ministry had been in touch with their UK counterparts in London over the incident.
“We have sent official appointment letter already for Chit Win as the chief of mission there. They have accepted,” he told AFP, adding the ambassador was required to return home.
On Thursday, the military arrested leading actor, model and heartthrob Paing Takhon in a dawn raid at his mother’s home in Yangon.

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