Burmese army names shadow government “terrorist” group | Human rights news


A group comprising deposed lawmakers formed the “government of national unity” to oppose the military government.

Burmese military leaders have branded a group of ousted lawmakers who run a shadow government “terrorists” and blamed them for the bombings, arson and killings, state-controlled media said on Saturday.

Since the military seized power in a February 1 coup, arresting and removing civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a nationwide uprising has refused to back down on its demands for a return to democracy.

Bomb attacks are reported daily and local militias have been formed to confront the military as anti-military protests continued across the Southeast Asian country and strikes by opponents of the coup. State have crippled the economy.

The Government of National Unity (NUG), which operates under cover and itself describes the military as a “terrorist force,” announced this week that it would set up a People’s Defense Force to protect his supporters from violence provoked by the military government.

A national uprising in Myanmar has refused to back down on its demands for a return to democracy after the military seized power on February 1. [AP]

Myanmar state television, MRTV, reported that the NUG, a committee of deposed lawmakers known as the CRPH, and the new force would now all be covered by the anti-terrorism law.

“Their actions have caused so much terrorism in so many places,” the announcement said.

“There have been bombs, fires, murders and threats to destroy the administrative machinery of the government,” the announcement reads.

Meanwhile, anti-coup protesters marched again on Saturday against the military government across the country.

At least 774 civilians have been killed by security forces and 3,778 are in prison, according to the activist group of the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners.

The military government disputes these figures and claims that at least two dozen members of the security forces were killed during protests.

Fighting has also erupted on the outskirts of Myanmar with ethnic armies fighting for decades, some of which have joined the protesters. State television said the military advanced against the Kachin Independence Army in northern Myanmar, but there was no independent confirmation.

In western Myanmar, the new Chinland Defense Force said it had invaded a military camp. The military did not comment on the report.

The military defended its takeover, alleging fraud in the November election, which Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won in a landslide.

Potential targets of journalists

The new designation means that anyone who speaks to the groups – including journalists – can face charges under anti-terrorism laws.

The Arakan army – a rebel group that had clashed with the army in conflict-ravaged Rakhine state – held the designation last year, and a journalist who interviewed a senior official was arrested.

He has faced “terrorism” charges, punishable by sentences ranging from three years to life in prison.

Although he was released soon after, the use of the anti-terrorism law against journalists raised fears of a tightening of the noose around the country’s besieged press.

Dozens of journalists have been arrested in the wake of the coup, while the media has shut down and various broadcasting licenses have been revoked for some TV stations – placing the country under a blackout from the information.





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