State television MRTV announced Kyaw Moe Tun’s removal on Saturday evening local time, saying he had “abused the power and responsibilities of a permanent ambassador” and that he “betrays the country.”
Speaking to Reuters following his firing, Kyaw Moe Tun said that he “decided to fight back as long as I can.” The announcement came as the military intensified its crackdown on anti-coup protesters Saturday.
Addressing the assembly in New York on Friday, Kyaw Moe Tun defied the military rulers now in control of the country and urged the UN Security Council and the world to use “any means necessary” to rescue the people of Myanmar and hold the military to account.
“We need further strongest possible action from the international community to immediately end the military coup, to stop oppressing the innocent people, to return the state power to the people and to restore the democracy,” he said.
Kyaw Moe Tun said he was delivering the speech on behalf of Suu Kyi’s government, which won a landslide in the November 8 elections.
In a show of defiance, the ambassador also flashed the three fingered “Hunger Games” salute used by protestors on the streets of Myanmar and adopted from recent protests in neighboring Thailand.
The diplomat received a rare round of applause from his UN colleagues at the end of the speech. The new US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, praised the envoy’s “courageous” remarks.
“The United States continues to strongly condemn the military coup in Myanmar,” she said Friday, addressing the assembly. “And we condemn the security forces’ brutal killing of unarmed people.”
Thomas-Greenfield added that the US “will continue to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance, including to Rohingya and other vulnerable populations in Chin, Kachin, Rakhine, and Shan states.”
“The world should applaud the bravery of Representative Kyaw Moe Tun for delivering such a powerful statement on behalf of the people of Myanmar, not the illegitimate military junta,” Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center, said in a statement Friday.
“The international community should support the will of the people of Myanmar by recognizing the CRPH and refusing to legitimize, normalize, or cooperate with the military government.”
Activist group, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), said that in towns and cities across the country, security forces fired tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannon and shot their guns into the air to disperse protesters.
A woman was reportedly shot and wounded in the central town of Monywa, according to Reuters, citing local media and an emergency worker.
In the biggest city Yangon, police fired tear gas and flash bangs to break up a group of protesters representing Myanmar’s different ethnic groups. Protesters had been chanting insults at police prior to the disruption, a witness told CNN. When the group scattered, police gave chase across the neighborhood.
In a village on the outskirts of the capital Naypyidaw, riot police use tear gas grenades and fired rubber bullets into the air to disperse hundreds of protesters.
AAPP said that as of Saturday, it has documented 854 people who have been arrested, charged or sentenced since the February 1 coup. The group noted, however, that “hundreds of people” were arrested in Yangon and other places on Saturday.
CNN’s Hamdi Alkhshali, Kristina Sgueglia and Zamira Rahim contributed.