LONDON – Myanmar's ambassador to Britain, Kyaw Zwar Minn, was locked out of his own embassy on Wednesday, apparently in retaliation for criticizing the country's military, which seized power in February and since then bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.
In a statement, Britain's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said it was "seeking further information" after the episode, which drew a small crowd of protesters outside Myanmar's embassy in London.
"I have been locked out," the ambassador told Reuters news agency, calling the actions of diplomatic colleagues preventing him from entering the building as a "sort of coup d'état in the middle of London".
Diplomatic sources confirmed that he had been excluded from the embassy, and reports in the British media suggested that the ambassador's deputy, Chit Win, had taken charge of the building with the help of a military attaché.
Last month, Mr. Kyaw Zwar Minn ranks with Myanmar's military rulers by issuing a statement calling for the release of detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint. "Diplomacy is the only answer and answer to the current impasse," he wrote in comments left on the embassy's website Wednesday evening.
Myanmar's state broadcaster later said Mr Kyaw Zwar Minn would be recalled for making an unauthorized report. But Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab praised "his courage and patriotism to stand up for the good".
“We join his call for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint and a return to democratic rule,” added Mr. Raab adds.
The US and UK governments have announced financial sanctions against Myanmar's military leadership and demanded the restoration of democracy. The Biden government also suspended a trade pact with Myanmar following recent actions by the Tatmadaw, the country's military, during the bloody repression of civilian protests.
Since February, thousands have been injured and more than 550 killed in the demonstrations, including many young protesters.
Mr. Kyaw Zwar Minn was not the first Myanmar diplomat to express concern about the military takeover. In February, the country's ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, criticized the country's military rulers before the UN General Assembly. The regime then said he no longer represented the country.
On Wednesday, London's Metropolitan Police confirmed that a protest had taken place outside the Myanmar embassy and that there were agents on the ground to maintain order, but said no arrests had been made.