"Myanmar: Military chief urged to stop violence on first foreign trip"

27th Apr,2021

"Myanmar: Military chief urged to stop violence on first foreign trip"


General Min Aung Hlaing is to attend a summit of the southeast Asian regional body ASEAN in Indonesia.
The military seized power after claiming there had been voter fraud in the 2020 general election.
Since then, more than 700 people have been killed in protests against the military government.
The talks in the Indonesian capital Jakarta will be the first international effort to address the crisis. Leaders and foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will take part.
In the latest violence, security forces shot and killed two people in the ruby-mining town of Mogok, one of several towns in which crowds came out to protest on Saturday, a resident told Reuters and media reported.
Myanmar's neighbours have been trying to encourage talks between the rival sides to resolve the crisis but the military has shown little willingness to engage with them or talk to the ousted government.
Several leaders of the 10-member ASEAN, of which Myanmar is a member, had confirmed their attendance at the meeting in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, including Min Aung Hlaing, the Thai spokesman, Tanee Sangrat, said.
A spokesman for the Myanmar junta did not answer calls seeking comment.
Myanmar's ousted government is likely to decry the junta chief's participation in the meeting.
Pro-democracy politicians, including ousted members of parliament, announced the formation of a National Unity Government (NUG) on Friday, including Suu Kyi and leaders of the anti-coup protests and ethnic minorities.
The NUG says it is the legitimate political authority. It has called for international recognition and ASEAN to reject Min Aung Hlaing's participation in the meeting and to invite it instead.
A representative of the NUG was not immediately available for comment.
Earlier on Saturday, the junta released 23,184 prisoners from jails across the country under a New Year amnesty, a Prisons Department spokesman said, though few if any democracy activists arrested since the coup were thought to be among them.
Saturday is the first day of the traditional New Year in Myanmar and the last day of a five-day holiday that is usually celebrated with visits to Buddhist temples and rowdy water throwing and partying in the streets.
Pro-democracy activists called for the cancellation of the festivities this year and instead for people to focus on a campaign to restore democracy.
Suu Kyi is among 3,141 people arrested in connection with the coup, according to a tally by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) activist group.