A close aide to ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi was detained in a new wave of arrests following last week’s military coup, a party official said on Thursday, as Washington moved a step closer to imposing sanctions on the junta.
The aide, Kyaw Tint Swe, had served as minister for the office of the state counsellor under Suu Kyi, who has been detained since the Feb. 1 coup.
Kyi Toe, an information committee member of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), said Kyaw Tint Swe and four other people linked to the previous government had been taken from their homes overnight, and the top leadership of the former electoral commission had all been arrested.
The military launched the coup after what it said was widespread fraud in November elections, won by the NLD in a landslide. The electoral commission had rejected those claims.
Myanmar authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment and Reuters was unable to confirm the arrests independently. Scores of officials have been detained since the coup, including many of the NLD’s top leaders.
Protesters gathered across the country for a sixth straight day on Thursday.
Hundreds of workers lined a road in the capital Naypyitaw in support of the civil disobedience movement, chanting anti-junta slogans and carrying placards supporting Suu Kyi.
In line with the creative ethos of recent demonstrations where some protesters have worn ball gowns and fancy dress, rallies in Yangon included men and boys dressed in short skirts. “We don’t take off our skirt until we get democracy back,” one sign read.
Hundreds of protesters also demonstrated outside the Chinese embassy in Yangon, accusing Beijing of supporting the military junta despite Chinese denials.
“Support Myanmar, Don’t support dictators,” read one of the placards in Chinese and English.
The Chinese embassy made no immediate response. Late on Wednesday, it posted a statement on Facebook dismissing reports on the internet of Chinese planes bringing in technical personnel, and said the only flights were regular cargo flights importing and exporting goods such as seafood.