Scenes from a coup: Images from Myanmar show how the military took control in a matter of hours

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A blockaded road to Myanmar’s parliament in Naypyitaw on Monday after the military detained the country’s leaders. STR/AFP via Getty Images
  • Myanmar’s military staged a coup on Monday.
  • Members of the ruling National League of Democracy, including Aung San Suu Kyi, were detained.
  • Images from across Myanmar capture the moments immediately before and after the coup.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Some of the residents of Yangon were doing yoga in the park when the coup happened.

Trucks and tanks carrying military personnel rumbled through both the streets of Myanmar’s largest city and the location of what was to be the first meeting of the newly elected parliament on Monday.

Myanmar’s military, known as the Tatmadaw, announced via its television channel Myawaddy TV that it would be taking control of the country for the next year.

The military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party had lost the country’s November election by a landslide to the ruling National League for Democracy.

In response, the military alleged widespread election fraud, claiming there were 8.6 million instances of “voter irregularities.” An independent election commission found no evidence of fraud, the Associated Press reported.

The Union Solidarity and Development Party on Tuesday gathered an independent election commission to investigate claims of election fraud, and the commission rejected the claims, recertifying the mass National League for Democracy win.

Brig. Gen. Zaw Min Tun, a military spokesman, said the Union Solidarity and Development Party wouldn’t rule out staging a coup — and less than a week later, the group did just that.

Below, a look at the moments leading up to and after Myanmar’s military coup.


Monday was supposed to be the first official meeting of the newly elected parliament, with the National League of Democracy claiming a majority 396 out of 476 parliamentary seats.

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An NLD supporter in Yangon decorated her shop with the party’s flags on Saturday ahead of the parliament’s reopening. Sai Aung MAIN / AFP via Getty Images

In comparison, the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party won just 33 seats.


Just two days before the coup, signs heralding the incoming NLD leaders were up around Yangon.

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Commuters near pro-NLD banners on Saturday. SAI AUNG MAIN/AFP via Getty Images

On the morning of the coup, some residents of Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, were doing yoga in the park.

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People at the Mahabandula Park in Yangon on Monday. AP Photo/Thein Zaw

On the military-controlled Myawaddy TV station, an announcer declared a yearlong state of emergency.


The military immediately detained key figures of the NLD, including the civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.

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A vendor walking past a poster of Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon on Saturday. SAI AUNG MAIN/AFP via Getty Images

The NLD had been in power since 2015.

The party is led by Aung San Suu Kyi, an activist who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 while she was imprisoned by military authorities.

Though she was then hailed as a humanitarian hero, the Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority faced deadly persecution with her in power.


Soon, military vehicles could be seen stretching out across Yangon’s streets.

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Police forces in the downtown area of Yangon on Monday. Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images

The police have been under the leadership of Myanmar’s military since 1995 and helped lead forces through Yangon.


The Myanmar police have been cited numerous times by human-rights groups for their brutal treatment of civilians.

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Police forces in the downtown area of Yangon on Monday. STR/AFP via Getty Images

Source: Human Rights Watch


Nearly 230 miles away, in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyitaw, troops with trucks and tanks blockaded the roads to the country’s parliament.

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Soldiers guarding a blockaded road to Myanmar’s parliament in Naypyitaw on Monday. STR/AFP via Getty Images

As news of the coup spread, people lined up at banks in anticipation that access to their accounts would soon be frozen.

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People lined up at an ATM outside a closed branch of KBZ Bank in Yangon on Monday, with banks closed for the day in Myanmar after the military coup. Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images

The people of Myanmar are no strangers to coups. In 1962, the military commander Ne Win led a coup that kept the Burma Socialist Programme Party in power for 26 years.

Military leadership continued until 2010, when a civilian government was installed.


The streets of Yangon emptied out.

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Yangon City Hall on Monday. Photo by STR / AFP via Getty Images

The city of more than 5 million people was known as Rangoon while under British colonial rule.


Residents of Yangon who were worried about access to food stockpiled basic supplies.

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A man with a sack of rice on Monday. AFP via Getty Images

It was reported that the military temporarily cut off access to banks, markets, and the internet during Monday’s coup.

Supporters of the military gathered in the streets in front of Yangon City Hall to celebrate.


Protesters across Asia demonstrated in support of Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD.

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Myanmar activists held portraits of Aung San Suu Kyi outside the United Nations University in Tokyo on Monday. PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images

Leaders around the world have decried the coup, with the White House saying in a statement: “The United States opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of recent elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition, and will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed.”