U.S. threatens sanctions after Myanmar coup

Western leaders condemned the coup by Myanmar's military against Aung San Suu Kyi's democratically elected government as hundreds of thousands of her supporters took to social media to voice their anger at the takeover.

U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday threatened to reimpose sanctions, calling the coup a direct assault on Myanmar's rule of law.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki:

"As you know, we removed sanctions, the United States, I should say, removed sanctions on Burma over the past decade based on progress toward democracy. The reversal of that progress will necessitate an immediate review of our sanctions laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain called for the release of Suu Kyi and others.

While Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau strongly condemned the Military's actions.

The U.N. Security Council will meet on Tuesday, diplomats said, amid calls for a strong response.

In the early hours of Monday, the Myanmar army took power and imposed a state of emergency for a year, saying it had responded to what it called election fraud.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party, which won a landslide 83% in a Nov. 8 election, said that she called on people to protest against the military takeover.

But the streets were quiet overnight after troops and riot police took up positions in the capital. Phone and internet connections were disrupted.

The removal of Suu Kyi also sent shock waves in the region, where in Bangkok, protesters stomped of a photo of Myanmar's army chief outside the Myanmar embassy.

The coup followed days of tension between the civilian government and the military. In the pre-written statement on Facebook, Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest between 1989 and 2010 and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, was quoted as saying that an army takeover would put Myanmar "back under a dictatorship."

The sudden turn of events derailed years of efforts to establish democracy in poverty-stricken Myanmar, also known as Burma, and raised more questions over the prospect of how and when a million Rohingya refugees will return to the country.