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Myanmar ambassador to UK ‘locked’ embassy

Myanmar Ambassador to the UK Kyaw Zwar Minn (R) talks to a police officer outside the Embassy in Mayfair, London

Myanmar’s ambassador to London said he had been expelled from his embassy.

Kyaw Zwar Minn said Myanmar’s military attaché asked staff to leave the building and Myanmar’s military attaché told him that he was no longer the country’s representative.

“I have been locked out,” he told Reuters news agency.

Myanmar’s military seized power in a coup on February 1, sparking weeks of protests and escalating violence. Kyaw Zwar Minn has called for the release of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

More than 500 people – including dozens of children – have been killed so far as pro-democracy protesters demand the return to power of elected leader Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party ( NLD).

Kyaw Zwar Minn described Wednesday’s events as “a kind of coup, in the middle of London,” Reuters reported. “This kind of coup will not happen,” he added.

The Ambassador was pictured standing in the street outside the Myanmar Embassy in Mayfair, London, speaking to Metropolitan Police officers.

Police were reportedly called to prevent staff from entering the building.

Protesters have since gathered outside the embassy.

In March, Kyaw Zwar Minn called for Ms. Suu Kyi’s release and told the BBC that Myanmar was “divided” and risked civil war.

He said his words did not “betray the country”, adding that he was standing on “middle ground”.

The ambassador, who is a former military colonel, was greeted by British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, who praised his “courage and patriotism”.

Deputy Ambassador Chit Win has reportedly taken over as charge d’affaires in London, Reuters reported, citing diplomats with knowledge of the matter.

A spokesman for the UK Foreign Office told the BBC he was “seeking clarification on the current status of Myanmar’s ambassador to London, in accordance with diplomatic protocol.”

Myanmar’s military seized power in the country after overthrowing the government and declaring a state of emergency.

A few days later, a protest movement began to emerge, which quickly gathered momentum, leading to hundreds of thousands of people taking part in street protests.

Last week, Ms. Suu Kyi was charged with breaking a colonial-era official secrets law, punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Myanmar in profile

  • Myanmar, also known as Burma, became independent from Great Britain in 1948. For much of its modern history, it has been under military rule.

  • Restrictions began to loosen from 2010, leading to free elections in 2015 and the installation of a government led by opposition veteran Aung San Suu Kyi the following year.

  • In 2017, the Burmese military responded to attacks on police by Rohingya militants with a deadly crackdown, driving more than half a million Rohingya Muslims across the border into Bangladesh in what the UN called more later a “classic example of ethnic cleansing”.

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