NUG declares a ‘peoples defense war’ against the military junta
Protests are continuing, rejecting the military government who took control of Myanmar last Feb. The National Unity Government leaders have declared a ‘people’s defense war’ against the military junta on Sept. 7. Duwa Lashi La, acting president of NUG, posted a video on Facebook calling for towns, cities and villages to start an uprising.
Earlier this year, the military regime, or the Tatmadaw, overthrew the democratic government of Myanmar. After the election of Aung San Suu Kyi, for the National League for Democracy, the military seized control through a military coup. According to the BBC, the armed forces backed the opposition, who were demanding a rerun of the vote, claiming widespread fraud. Ms Suu Kyi was forced out of authority and Min Aung Hlaing, the military commander-in-chief, took power.
After the coup, Myanmar citizens began to protest the change in leadership. As citizens marched the streets opposing the military coup, violence quickly broke out as the military regime tried to crush the resistance. “Troops killed at least 160 people on March 27, 78 of them in the region of Mandalay, the country’s former royal capital,” according to Reuters. Since the coup on Feb. 2, there have been 1105 deaths, and 8223 people arrested by the military junta according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Many of the killings occurred at the protests.
According to Reuters, Myanmar has sunk into chaos since the coup, with protests continuing daily, insurgencies flaring in border regions and widespread strikes that have severely damaged the economy. The country was also facing an outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.
Ethnic groups such as the Rohingya Muslims, have also been included in the fight against the junta, aligning themselves with NUG despite past conflicts. According to BBC, in August 2017, a deadly crackdown by Myanmar’s army on Rohingya Muslims sent hundreds of thousands fleeing across the border into Bangladesh.
Local forces have resisted the junta, and are using guerilla tactics to defend villages and towns. According to the Washington Post, “the NUG claims to be Myanmar’s rightful government and has wide support in the country of 57 million.”
Aung San Suu Kyi, elected official for the National League for Democracy, is facing charges by the military junta. She is being tried with charges including illegally importing walkie-talkies and violating COVID-19 rules during the 2020 election campaign, according to Reuters. She is being held in Myanmar’s capital city, Naypyidaw. Aung San Suu Kyi did not appear in court due to a minor illness.