Several pro-democracy and labour groups in Hong Kong have condemned the military takeover in Myanmar, saying they would not recognise the new army-led executive body as the legitimate government.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, an organisation representing the Myanmar community in Hong Kong said the Burmese commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing had “illegally seized power” and formed the State Administration Council “against the will of the people.”

Protesters hold signs with portraits demanding the release of detained Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on February 9, 2021. Photo by Sai Aung Main/AFP.

Last Monday, Myanmar’s military seized control of the government and detained pro-democracy figure and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint. The coup came after Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory in a general election in November last year.

A protester holds up a placard during a demonstration against the February 1 military coup in front of the Japanese embassy in Yangon on February 10, 2021. Photo by Sai Aung Main/AFP.

Min Aung Hlaing justified the military takeover by alleging the 2020 poll was fraudulent, but the country’s election commission found no evidence to support the claim. The military government declared a state of emergency for a year, adding it would then hold fresh elections.

The flag of the National League for Democracy party flies over protesters taking part in a demonstration against the February 1 military coup in Yangon on February 10, 2021. Photo: Sai Aung Mai/ AFP.

The Solidarity Committee of Myanmar Citizens in Hong Kong called for the immediate release of the civilian leaders and other detainees who were “unlawfully arrested.” They also voiced support for the anti-coup demonstrators.

A police officer (C) aims a gun during clashes with protesters taking part in a demonstration against the military coup in Naypyidaw on February 9, 2021. Photo by Stringer/AFP.

“We do not recognise the ‘State Administration Council’ as our government and will only recognise the elected members of parliament,” the statement read.

“We call for the international community in Hong Kong to support our fight against the military dictatorship.”

Protesters wear wet weather gear to protect against police water cannon as they take part in a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on February 9, 2021. Photo by Sai Aung Main/AFP.

The statement was co-signed by ten pro-democracy and labour groups including the China Labour Bulletin, Civil Human Rights Front and Labour Action China. Prominent democracy campaigner Nathan Law, who fled Hong Kong last July in light of the Beijing-imposed national security law, was also among the signatories.

Protesters stand with a plastic cover to protect against police water cannon as they take part in a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on February 9, 2021. Photo by Sai Aung Main/AFP.

Last Monday’s coup marked a return to military rule in Myanmar after ten years of civilian government.

The country – formerly known as Burma – was a British colony from 1824 to 1948. It was ruled by the armed forces from 1962 until 2011.

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Kelly Ho

Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.