Protests continue across Myanmar following the millitary coup. Source: Getty Images
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  • Sean Turnell, an Australian economic adviser to Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, has been detained by the military, representing the first arrest of a foreign national since the coup on February 1
  • Turnell is a professor of economics at Macquarie University in Sydney and had been advising Suu Kyi on economic policy for several years
  • Australia’s foreign ministry said it was “deeply concerned” about reports of foreign detainees, but did not provide any details
  • Myanmar’s military overthrew the government last week despite Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) winning the November 8 election by a landslide 83 per cent
  • The weekend also saw several thousand protestors gather in Melbourne on Saturday to denounce the military coup and demand the release of Suu Kyi

Sean Turnell, an Australian economic adviser to Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, has been detained by the military, representing the first arrest of a foreign national since the coup on February 1.

“I guess you will soon hear of it, but I am being detained,” he told Reuters on Sunday. “Being charged with something, but not sure what. I am fine and strong, and not guilty of anything.”

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

Citing fraud, Myanmar’s military overthrew the government last week despite Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) winning the November 8 election by a landslide 83 per cent.

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,” but did not name Turnell or provide further details on other foreign nationals being detained.

“The Australian Embassy in Yangon continues to contact Australians in Myanmar to ascertain their safety, to the extent that communications allow,” the ministry said.

Several thousand protestors gathered in Melbourne on Saturday to denounce the military coup and demand the release of Suu Kyi.

Footage aired on television and social media showed people carrying portraits of Suu Kyi and wearing red — the colour of the NLD. They also sang “We Won’t Be Satisfied Until The End Of The World”, the Burmese language anthem from the country’s 1988 pro-democracy uprising, which was firmly stamped out by the military government.

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