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Myanmar ambassador declares coup as ‘military’ seizes UK embassy

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Myanmar ambassador to the UK Kyaw Zwar Minn outside the embassy in London. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Myanmar ambassador to the UK Kyaw Zwar Minn outside the embassy in London. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Myanmar ambassador to the UK Kyaw Zwar Minn outside the embassy in London. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA

The Myanmar embassy in London was “stormed” and seized by allies of the nation’s military regime yesterday, the ambassador has alleged.

Kyaw Zwar Minn, who has served as the South-East Asian country’s ambassador to the UK since 2014, told The Daily Telegraph he had been “betrayed” by former colleagues whom he had worked alongside in the building.

Although himself a former military colonel, he drew the ire of his country’s armed junta last month after he expressed his opposition to the successful coup at the start of February. He called publicly for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the deposed civilian leader and Win Myint, the ousted president.

He went on to hold a meeting with Dominic Raab, who applauded his “courage and patriotism” in speaking out. The Foreign Secretary called on the military regime to “end their brutal crackdown and restore democracy”. After the ambassador’s statement, the Myanmar state broadcaster said he had been recalled from his post for issuing an unauthorised declaration.

Blocked yesterday evening from re-entering the diplomatic mission, which is on Charles Street in Mayfair, he said: “When I left the embassy, they stormed inside the embassy and took it.

" They are from the Myanmar military. They are refusing to let me inside. They said they received instruction from the capital, so they are not going to let me in.

“This a coup. This is the UK, we are not in Myanmar, in Burma. They are not able to do this. The British Government won’t allow this one, you’ll see that.”

He indicated he was in contact with the Foreign Office but declined to disclose the substance of the discussions.

Although he was frustrated by the raid, he said, he was not surprised because he had expected an attempt to seize the building. “I can guess their steps,” he said. “They betrayed me, because they are from the military side.”

There were unconfirmed reports that Chit Win, the deputy ambassador, and the military attache had taken control of the embassy and locked the ambassador out, with Mr Chit Win appointed the de facto head of the mission.

Police went to the site, though are not thought to have entered the building, while members of the Myanmar diaspora gathered on the street as night fell.


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