Myanmar calls on Foreign Office to help locked out ambassador after 'coup in the middle of London'

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner

Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called on the UK to help reinstate the country's ambassador in London after he was locked out of its embassy in the capital.

Kyaw Zwar Minn was denied entry to the Myanmar embassy in Mayfair on Wednesday night in what he called a "coup" that was both "unacceptable and disrespectful".

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Myanmar - which still supports ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi - wrote to the British Foreign Office branding the move "an illegal interference".

Myanmar's military seized power in a coup on 1 February, arresting political leaders and sparking protests as well as escalating violence.

Mr Zwar Minn said the junta had terminated his position as ambassador but he told reporters: “This kind of coup is happening in the middle of the UK, in the middle of London – this shouldn’t be happening.”

A statement read out on his behalf said: "Due to his announcement in March, the ambassador has been recalled by the Myanmar military regime."

It continued: "Since then he has stopped following instruction from the Myanmar foreign ministry and he has been meeting with many diplomatic counterparts and Myanmar community to discuss the current situation in Myanmar, hoping to find a peaceful solution.

"Due to his stance, the Myanmar embassy in London has been seized by the military attache yesterday evening. The ambassador has been locked out since then."

Kyaw Zwar Minn was locked out of the embassy on Wednesday night and forced to ring the doorbell but was not granted entry. Credit: PA

Mr Zwar Minn has received backing from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Myanmar, a coalition that still supports Myanmar's ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Ministry said locking Mr Zwar Minn out of the embassy "constitutes an illegal interference" and urged the UK Foreign Office to "assist the Ambassador to regain access as a matter of urgency."

In a press release, the Ministry described the military coup as "an horrific attack of systematic and targeted violence against the civilian population of Myanmar".

The group said the death toll since the coup in February stands at at least 562.

Dominic Raab condemned the “bullying actions of the Myanmar military regime” in London after Mr Zwar Minn was denied entry.

The Foreign Secretary paid tribute to the “courage” of the diplomat, writing on Twitter: "The UK continues to call for an end to the coup and the appalling violence, and a swift restoration of democracy."

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said on Wednesday night it was "seeking further information" following the incident.

Protesters gathered outside the embassy in Mayfair on Thursday. Credit: PA

The BBC reported last month that Kyaw Zwar Minn had been recalled by the South East Asian country after he spoke out against its recent military coup and called for the release of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The prime minister has previously condemned the ousting of the elected government in Myanmar.

Boris Johnson criticised the “unlawful imprisonment of civilians” after Ms Suu Kyi was detained.

Myanmar’s military has since violently cracked down on opponents, with security forces reportedly killing hundreds of protesters and bystanders.

Anti-coup protesters run to avoid military forces during a demonstration in Yangon Credit: AP

Foreign ministers from the G7 nations have also condemned the “intimidation and oppression” of protesters following the coup.

On March 8, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted that he had spoken to Kyaw Zwar Minn and had “praised his courage and patriotism in standing up for what is right”.

He added: “We join his call for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, and for a return to democratic rule.”

Anti-coup protesters gesture with the three-fingers symbol of resistance during a demonstration in Thaketa township in Yangon Credit: AP

It is thought that government officials were in contact with the ambassador and the Myanmar regime on Wednesday evening to help seek a resolution to the situation.

Protesters have left bunches of flowers and posters attached to railings outside the embassy to commemorate civilian victims of the coup.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “We are aware of a protest outside the Myanmar embassy in Mayfair, London.

“Public order officers are in attendance. There have been no arrests.”