Joe Biden has criticised the military coup in Myanmar, calling it a “direct assault on the country’s transition to democracy and the rule of law”.
The US president hit out after troops seized power, detained a number of top politicians including the civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and declared a one-year national state of emergency.
Mr Biden threatened to impose fresh sanctions – after they were removed during the past decade because of progress that had been made towards democracy.
Myanmar’s new military rulers, who said they had responded to what they called election fraud, claim they will hold power for 12 months before holding free and fair elections next year.
Mr Biden called on the international community to “press the military to immediately relinquish the power they have seized, release the activists and officials they have detained, lift all telecommunications restrictions, and refrain from violence against civilians”.
He said: “The United States is taking note of those who stand with the people of Burma (Myanmar) in this difficult hour.
“We will work with our partners throughout the region and the world to support the restoration of democracy and the rule of law, as well as to hold accountable those responsible for overturning Burma’s democratic transition.”
He added: “The United States will stand up for democracy wherever it is under attack.”
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