You are here: Home » International » News » Politics
Business Standard

'Join hands' with the army for democracy, urges Myanmar coup leader

The military has said it was forced to step in because Suu Kyi''s government failed to properly investigate allegations of fraud in November elections

Topics
Myanmar | coup | democracy

AP  |  Yangon 

Protest at the Embassy of Myanmar in Bangkok. Photo: Bloomberg
Protest at the Embassy of Myanmar in Bangkok. Photo: Bloomberg

Myanmar's leader used the country's Union Day holiday on Friday to call on people to work with the military if they want democracy, a request likely to be met with derision by protesters who are pushing for the release from detention of their country's elected leaders.

I would seriously urge the entire nation to join hands with the Tatmadaw for the successful realization of democracy, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said using the local term for the military.

Historical lessons have taught us that only national unity can ensure the non-disintegration of the Union and the perpetuation of sovereignty, he added.

In addition to the military commander's message published Friday in the Global New Light of newspaper, the new junta also announced it would mark Union Day by releasing thousands of prisoners and reducing other inmates' sentences.

Min Aung Hlaing's February 1 ousted the civilian government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and prevented recently elected lawmakers from opening a new session of Parliament. It reversed nearly a decade of progress toward following 50 years of military rule and has led to widespread protests in cities around the country.

The military has said it was forced to step in because Suu Kyi's government failed to properly investigate allegations of fraud in November elections, though the election commission has said there is no evidence to support those claims.

The rallies against the now daily occurrences in Myanmar's two largest cities, Yangon and Mandalay have drawn people from all walks of life, despite an official ban on gatherings of more than five people. Factory workers and civil servants, students and teachers, medical personnel and people from LGBTQ communities, Buddhist monks and Catholic clergy have all come out in force.

On Thursday, people from Myanmar's ethnic minority groups, who are concentrated in far-flung, border states, joined in a striking show of unity in a country where some groups have resented the Burman majority's control and have also had their differences with Suu Kyi. But their deep mistrust of the military, which has brutally repressed their armed struggles for more autonomy, has made them uneasy allies with her party.

The protesters are unlikely to be swayed by Min Aung Hlaing's call for unity, which come on Union Day, a national holiday celebrating the date in 1947 that Myanmar, then known as Burma, when many of the country's ethnic groups agreed to unify following decades of British colonial rule.

The junta's pardon orders published Friday in government-run media said that 23,314 prisoners would be freed, along with 55 foreign inmates. The orders also commuted some death-penalty sentences to life imprisonment and reduced the terms of other prison sentences.

It is also unlikely to win over the community, which has widely condemned the coup as well as the use of police force such as water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse some of the protests.

During Mynamar's previous decades of military rule, Western governments put sanctions in place, but they were eased when elections in 2010 and 2015 showed the country's tentative steps toward

The U.S. government announced Thursday that new sanctions will target the country's top military officials who ordered the coup.

The sanctions named Min Aung Hlaing and his deputy Soe Win, as well as four members of the State Administration Council. An executive order signed by US President Joe Biden also allows the Treasury Department to target the spouses and adult children of those being sanctioned.

The move will prevent the generals from accessing more than USD 1 billion in government funds held in the United States.

It remains to be seen what, if any, impact the US action will have on Myanmar's military regime. Many of the military leaders are already under sanctions because of attacks against the Muslim Rohingya minority.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Fri, February 12 2021. 12:20 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
.