Australian advisor to Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi detained

WION Web Team
Yangon, Myanmar Published: Feb 06, 2021, 04:47 PM(IST)

Aung San Suu Kyi Photograph:( AFP )

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According to BBC, it was unclear where Turnell was being held. Earlier he told BBC he was confined to his hotel. 

An Australian economic advisor to Myanmar's deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained in the country following a military coup. 

Macquarie University professor Sean Turnell is the first foreign national confirmed arrested by the new military junta since it took power on Monday after detaining Suu Kyi and other senior politicians from her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

Turnell is a professor of economics at Macquarie University in Sydney and has been advising Suu Kyi on economic policy for several years.

According to BBC, it was unclear where Turnell was being held. Earlier he told BBC he was confined to his hotel. 

Australia's foreign ministry said in a statement late on Saturday that it was "deeply concerned about reports of Australian and other foreign nationals being detained arbitrarily in Myanmar."

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said her government had "serious concerns about an Australian who has been detained at a police station," without naming the professor. It added that the Myanmar ambassador had been called in over "reports of Australian and other foreign nationals being detained arbitrarily in Yangon". 

Macquarie University said it was aware of reports of Turnell's arrest, adding it fully supported "both his work in Myanmar and the efforts of the Australian Government to secure his swift release".

Myanmar army generals, who seized power alleging fraud in a Nov. 8 election that Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) won in a landslide, shut down the internet on Saturday as thousands took to the streets of Yangon to denounce this week's coup.

Also, on Saturday, several thousand protesters gathered in Australia's second-largest city of Melbourne denouncing the coup and demanding the release of Suu Kyi.

Television and social media footage showed people wearing the red colour of the NLD, carrying portraits of Suu Kyi and singing "We Won't Be Satisfied Until The End Of The World", the Burmese language anthem from the country’s 1988 pro-democracy uprising, brutally put down by the military government.

They also yelled: "Down with the military dictatorship!" and waved red flags, the colour of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party. 

(with inputs from agencies)

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