Myanmar junta labels opposition government of ousted MPs a ‘terrorist’ group

Coup leaders ban opposition national unity government, and contact with them, as they seek to quell ongoing protests

Myanmar’s military rulers have branded a national unity government formed by MPs forced to flee in the wake of the coup a terrorist group and blamed it for bombings, arson and killings as part of a propaganda campaign in state-controlled media on Saturday.

Myanmar’s army overthrew the elected government on 1 February and detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, sparking months of protests during which hundreds of people have been killed by security forces. In response, local militias have been formed to confront the army while anti-junta protests have continued across the south-east Asian country and strikes have paralysed the economy.

Saturday’s announcement follows the junta’s crackdown on independent news outlets, raiding media outlets and most recently banning satellite dishes and threatening prison sentences for anyone who violates the measure.

The national unity government (NUG), which was set up by pro-democracy politicians and operates under cover, itself describes the army as a terrorist force. The NUG announced this week that it would set up a people’s defence force.

State television MRTV announced that the NUG, a committee of ousted lawmakers known as the CRPH and the new defence force would all now be covered by the anti-terrorism law, saying: “Their acts caused so much terrorism in many places.”

The anti-terrorism law bans not only membership of the groups, but also any contact with them. The junta had previously accused its opponents of treason.

Protesters marched against the junta in dozens of places on Saturday. At least 774 civilians have been killed by security forces and 3,778 are detained, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group.

The junta says at least two dozen members of the security forces have been killed in protests.

Fighting has also flared on Myanmar’s periphery with ethnic armies that have been fighting for decades, some of which have rallied behind the protesters. State television said the army had advanced against the Kachin independence army in northern Myanmar, but there was no independent confirmation.

In western Myanmar, the newly formed Chinland defence force said it had overrun an army camp. The army made no comment on the report.

Myanmar’s army took power alleging fraud in a November election that was swept by the party of Aung Sun Suu Kyi, who fought for democracy for decades before tentative reforms began a decade ago. The electoral commission had rejected the army’s complaints.

With Reuters

Staff and agencies

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Myanmar village destroyed amid clashes between military and anti-junta group
Residents say 200 homes in Kin Ma burned to ground after opponents of junta fought with regime’s forces

Staff and agencies

17, Jun, 2021 @5:47 AM

Article image
Myanmar junta hit by western sanctions as ‘silent strikes’ mark coup anniversary
The UK, US, Canada and Australia have announced a range of measures aimed at punishing Myanmar’s military

Rebecca Ratcliffe South-east Asia correspondent

01, Feb, 2023 @12:50 PM

Article image
Aung San Suu Kyi moved to solitary confinement, says Myanmar junta
Ousted leader, held at secret location for past year, charged with at least 20 offences and could spend rest of life in jail

Rebecca Ratcliffe and agencies

23, Jun, 2022 @9:43 AM

Article image
In the targets of the junta: life and war inside rebel-held Myanmar
In Myanmar’s opposition controlled areas the risks of opposing the military leadership and the quiet hope that permeates daily life co-exist

Lorcan Lovett in Demoso, eastern Myanmar

04, Jun, 2023 @8:00 AM

Article image
Police in Myanmar occupy hospitals as unions call for national strike
Police target outlet after hospitals stormed on Sunday night amid call for strike in protest at coup

Guardian reporter in Yangon and Michael Safi

08, Mar, 2021 @2:56 PM

Article image
Rohingya and Myanmar coup survivors launch legal complaint in Germany against junta
Survivors of alleged abuses at hands of military unite in universal jurisdiction case over atrocities they say amount to genocide

Rebecca Ratcliffe South-east Asia correspondent

24, Jan, 2023 @6:42 AM

Article image
‘Monster from the sky’: two years on from coup, Myanmar junta increases airstrikes on civilians
People across the country now live under constant threat of attacks from the skies

Rebecca Ratcliffe South east Asia correspondent and Min Ye Kyaw

31, Jan, 2023 @9:00 AM

Article image
Myanmar could face aid ‘catastrophe’, experts warn, after junta law change
Local and international aid agencies have a choice between operating illegally or registering with the junta, which some fear legitimises their coup

Emanuel Stoakes

03, Nov, 2022 @5:43 AM

Article image
Tourists urged to avoid Myanmar as junta prepares to reopen to world
Travel agents and aid workers raise issues of safety and note that tourism dollars will only benefit the ruling military

Rebecca Root in Bangkok

03, Apr, 2022 @11:59 PM

Article image
Myanmar: fossil fuel giants cut payments to junta but gas still flows
Total and Chevron halt some payments to military in wake of coup but advocacy groups say more needs to be done

Ben Butler and Ben Doherty

27, May, 2021 @6:51 AM