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Myanmar envoy who criticized coup expelled from London embassy

LONDON – Myanmar’s Ambassador to Britain Kyaw Zwar Minn was kicked out of his own embassy on Wednesday, apparently in retaliation for criticizing the country’s military, which seized power in February and has since launched a crackdown bloody against pro-democracy protesters.

In a statement, Britain’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said it was “seeking further information” following the episode, which drew a small crowd of protesters outside the Myanmar embassy in London.

“I have been locked out,” the ambassador told Reuters news agency, calling the actions of fellow diplomats who prevented him from entering the building as “a kind of coup d’etat. in the middle of London ”.

Diplomatic sources confirmed he had been kicked out of the embassy, ​​and British media suggested that the ambassador’s deputy, Chit Win, took over the building with the help of a military attaché.

Last month, Kyaw Zwar Minn broke ranks with Myanmar’s military rulers by issuing a statement calling for the release of detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint. “Diplomacy is the only answer and answer to the current deadlock,” he wrote in comments that remained on the embassy’s website Wednesday night.

Myanmar state broadcaster later said Kyaw Zwar Minn would be recalled for making an unauthorized statement. But British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab praised “his courage and his patriotism in standing up for what is right”.

“We join his call for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, and for a return to democratic rule,” added Mr. Raab.

The US and UK governments announced financial sanctions against Myanmar’s military rulers and demanded the restoration of democracy. The Biden administration also suspended a trade pact with Myanmar following recent actions by the Tatmadaw, the country’s military, in the bloody crackdown on civilian protests.

Since February, thousands of people have been injured and more than 550 killed in protests, including many young protesters.

Mr. Kyaw Zwar Minn was not the first Myanmar diplomat to worry about the military takeover. In February, the country’s ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, criticized the country’s military leadership before the United Nations General Assembly. The regime then declared that it no longer represented the country.

London Metropolitan Police confirmed on Wednesday that a protest took place outside the Myanmar embassy and officers were on the scene to keep order, but said no arrests had been made.

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