(Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Britain has condemned the Myanmar junta after the country's ambassador was ousted from their embassy in London.
The extraordinary diplomatic coup came after the ambassador called for the release of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Diplomats loyal to the Myanmar military authorities seized control of the embassy on Wednesday, leaving ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn locked out in the street.
The ambassador said the defence attache had taken over the mission in "a kind of coup", two months after the military seized power in Myanmar.
VIDEO: Myanmar Ambassador to the United Kingdom Kyaw Zwar Minn says a military attache has 'occupied' the London embassy and is barring him access to the building pic.twitter.com/BMlB2PADvf— AFP News Agency (@AFP) April 8, 2021
Daily protests demanding a return of democracy have rocked the country and brought a brutal response from the armed forces, with almost 600 civilians killed according to a local monitoring group.
The coup prompted several high-profile diplomatic defections, including the country's ambassador to the United Nations.
The junta recalled Kyaw Zwar Minn last month after he issued a statement urging them to release Suu Kyi and deposed civilian President Win Myint.
British foreign minister Dominic Raab tweeted his support for the ambassador, who spent the night in his car outside the embassy.
We condemn the bullying actions of the Myanmar military regime in London yesterday, and I pay tribute to Kyaw Zwar Minn for his courage. The UK continues to call for an end to the coup and the appalling violence, and a swift restoration of democracy— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) April 8, 2021
Protesters gathered outside the mission on Wednesday evening with the ousted ambassador, who told the Daily Telegraph that "when I left the embassy, they stormed inside the embassy and took it."
Asked who had taken over, he replied: "Defence attache, they occupy my embassy".
According to The Times newspaper, the ambassador said the defence attache had sought to install his former deputy as charge d'affaires.
Myanmar's security forces have struggled to quell protests and a civil disobedience movement aimed at overturning the February 1 military coup.
They have used rubber bullets and live rounds to break up rallies and used night raids to arrest suspected dissidents.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) says at least 598 civilians have been killed and nearly 2,900 detained.
International powers have voiced anger and dismay at the junta's brutal approach, but the UN Security Council has stopped short of considering sanctions, with both China and Russia against the move.
The military has defended seizing power, pointing to allegations of voting fraud in the November election which Suu Kyi's party won comfortably, and says it is responding proportionately to the demonstrations.
Despite the coup regime have killed 29 people so far in Kalay, Sagaing, residents continue to stage protests against the military dictatorship, including today (Apr 8). #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar pic.twitter.com/wQrqqAGYg2— Myanmar Now (@Myanmar_Now_Eng) April 8, 2021