Opponents of Myanmar Coup Form Unity Government, Target ‘Federal Democracy’

Women carry flower pots as they take part in a protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on April 13, 2021. REUTERS / Stringer

Opponents of Myanmar’s junta announced a Government of National Unity on Friday that included ousted members of parliament and leaders of anti-coup protests and ethnic minorities, saying its goal was to end the military rule and restore democracy.

Myanmar has been in crisis since the February 1 coup that toppled a civilian government headed by democracy defender Aung San Suu Kyi, who had held power for five years and was beginning her second term after a landslide electoral victory. in November.

People have taken to the streets day after day to demand the restoration of democracy, defying repressions by the security forces in which more than 700 people have died, according to a monitoring group.

At the same time, political leaders, including parliamentarians ousted by Suu Kyi’s party, have been trying to organize themselves to show the country and the outside world that they and not the generals are the legitimate political authority.

“Please welcome the government of the people,” veteran democracy activist Min Ko Naing said in a 10-minute video announcing the formation of the Government of National Unity.

Presenting some positions, Min Ko Naing said that the will of the people was the priority of the unity government, while acknowledging the scale of the task at hand.

“We are trying to root this out, so we have to sacrifice a lot,” he said, referring to the board.

A spokesperson for the board could not be reached for comment.

The generals justified their inauguration with accusations of fraud in the November elections won by Suu Kyi’s party, although the electoral commission dismissed the objections.

One of the main goals of the unit government will be to gain international support and recognition.

His minister for international cooperation, Dr. Sasa, told reporters that the United States and Britain had recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the legitimate leader of that country.

“We are the democratically elected leaders of Myanmar,” said Sasa, who has only one name. “So if the free and democratic world rejects us, that means they reject democracy.”

International pressure has also been mounting on Myanmar’s armed forces, particularly from Western governments that have imposed limited sanctions, although the generals have a long history of dismissing what they see as outside interference. read more

The unity government published a list of officials that include members of ethnic minorities and protest leaders, underscoring the unity of purpose between the pro-democracy movement and minority communities seeking autonomy, some of which have fought against it. central government for decades.

Suu Kyi, who has been detained since the coup, was listed as a councilor of state, the position she held in the government.

The only known communication he has had with the outside world since the coup has been through video calls with his lawyers. A spokesman for the Democratic politicians said that while they could not inform her about the unity government, he was sure that she was aware of what was happening.


Sasa told Reuters the goal was to end the violence, restore democracy and build a “federal democratic union.” The military, while playing lip service to the idea of ​​federalism, has long been seen as the central power that holds the country together.

Unity government leaders said they intended to form a federal army and were in talks with ethnic minority forces.

The Special Advisory Council for Myanmar, a group of international experts that includes former United Nations officials, praised the creation of the NUG as historic and said it was the legitimate government.

As politicians announced the unity government, other opponents of the military government observed a “silent attack” that stayed home to mourn the dead or dressed in black in small marches in half a dozen cities and towns, media reported.

The streets of Yangon’s main city were largely deserted, residents said.

There were no immediate reports of violence in Friday’s protests, but six people were killed in a shootout between soldiers and a “local group” in the central city of Kani the day before, the Myanmar Now media agency reported.

The military has also been rounding up critics. Two prominent organizers of the protest were arrested Thursday.

The turmoil and the prospect of escalating conflict have alarmed Myanmar’s neighbors in Southeast Asia, who have been trying to encourage talks between rival parties.

The leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes Myanmar, will meet in Indonesia on April 24 to discuss the situation, Thai and Indonesian media reported.

The leader of the board, Major General Min Aung Hlaing, was supposed to attend, a Thai announcer said, but the Jakarta Post said it had not been confirmed whether the summit would include representatives from the board or the previous government.

Sasa said ASEAN should not invite “chief assassin” Min Aung Hlaing.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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