Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Kingdom said he was barred from entering the embassy on Wednesday due to his criticism of the military coup in his country.
Kyaw Zwar Minn said that staff members at the London embassy loyal to the military regime prevented him from entering his office.
Minn had last month called for the release of Myanmar’s Democratic ruler, Aung San Suu Kyi, who was detained when the military seized power on February 1. She has since been slapped with multiple charges including corruption, inciting public disorder, failing to comply with coronavirus restrictions and illegally importing walkie-talkies.
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which monitors casualties and arrests, 581 people have lost their lives in anti-coup protests, including children.
A statement read on his behalf outside the embassy on Thursday said the embassy had been “seized by the military attache yesterday evening. The ambassador has been locked out since then”.
“There has been a coup in Myanmar in February and now the same situation in central London,” the statement said. “This is unacceptable and disrespectful not only to the people of Myanmar but it is also clearly disrespectful to all of democratic society in the UK.”
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab paid “tribute to Kyaw Zwar Minn for his courage” on Twitter and said the UK condemns “the bullying actions of the Myanmar military regime in London yesterday”.
The British government said it had been notified by Myanmar authorities that Kyaw Zwar Minn had been removed from his post.
The UK is among the Western countries that have imposed sanctions on Myanmar for the coup and subsequent violent crackdown on protesters. Among those targeted were nine high-ranking military officers, including junta chief Min Aung Hlaing, as well as two military-linked conglomerates that together control large parts of the economy.