JUNTA VOWS FURTHER CRACKDOWN
Last month, the military announced a six-month extension of a two-year state of emergency and postponed elections it had promised to hold by August because it did not control enough of the country for a vote to take place.
On Monday, junta chief Min Aung Hlaing vowed no let up in a crackdown on opponents and told thousands of soldiers at an annual parade that elections would be held, although he did not give a timeline.
“The Myanmar regime is preparing for national elections that, if imposed by force, are likely to be the bloodiest in the country’s recent history,” said Richard Horsey, International Crisis Group’s senior adviser on Myanmar.
“The majority of the population fiercely oppose going to the polls to legitimise the military’s political control, so we will see violence ratchet up if the regime seeks to impose a vote.”
Suu Kyi has been detained since the early hours of the coup in February 2021.
In December, the junta wrapped up a series of closed-court trials of the 77-year-old Nobel laureate, jailing her for a total of 33 years in a process rights groups have condemned as a sham.
The putsch sparked renewed fighting with ethnic rebels and birthed dozens of anti-junta “People’s Defence Forces” (PDFs), with swathes of the country now ravaged by fighting and the economy in tatters.
More than 3,100 people have been killed and over 20,000 arrested since the coup, according to a local monitoring group.
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