The military staged the coup on Feb. 1 after weeks of accusations of voting fraud in November elections that delivered a landslide win for Aung San Suu Kyi’s ruling party. The army started crying foul when its proxy party fell short even of its poor performance in 2015 elections. Last month the Union Election Commission (UEC), the body that oversees voting, rejected the fraud claims in the face of pressure to investigate the vote, which was recognized by the international community as free and fair.
On Thursday, state- and local-level UEC members were systematically detained around the country, from Shan state near the border with China to coastal Ayeyarwady region. The arrests on Thursday came as RFA obtained a copy of an order from the junta for the release of more than 20,000 prisoners ahead of Union Day on Friday, which marks an historic 1947 pact among major ethnic groups before the country's independence from Britain.