Opponents of Myanmar coup form shadow government

Silent bond: People paying tributes to pro-democracy protesters killed in the military crackdown.  

Opponents of Myanmar’s ruling junta went on the political offensive on Friday, declaring they have formed an interim national unity government with members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s ousted Cabinet and major ethnic minority groups.

The move comes on the eve of a diplomatic initiative to solve Myanmar’s crisis by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which is expected to hold a summit next week.

A violent crackdown by the junta has failed to stem opposition to the coup, and as the Army has spread the fight to ethnic minorities in border areas, some ASEAN members believe the crisis threatens regional stability.

Opponents of the coup have been seeking an alliance with ethnic minority groups as a way of strengthening their resistance.

While it was not clear if the minority political organisations had formally joined an alliance, the appointment of prominent personalities from their ranks showed a commitment to a joint struggle against the military, which is certain to boost morale to the anti-coup cause.

Security forces have killed at least 726 protesters and bystanders since the February 1 military takeover, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which monitors casualties and arrests.

The National Unity Government is nominally an upgrade from what had been called the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, which was formed shortly after the coup by elected lawmakers who were barred by the Army from taking their seats. The junta declared the CRPH an illegal organisation, and issued arrest warrants for its leading members.

‘Support us’

A video posted on Friday on social media showed veteran activist Min Ko Naing announcing the formation of the new body. He was a leader of the failed 1988 uprising against a previous military dictatorship and is one of the country’s most respected political figures aside from Suu Kyi. He went quickly underground after the coup.

“Please support the National Unity Government for the future of our citizens and our younger generation,” he said.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 8:48:17 PM |

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