The government formed by the Burmese opposition to counterbalance the military junta announced this Wednesday that it would create a “Defense Force” to organize against the repression that has rocked the Asian country since the coup on February 1st.
The coup resulted in the arrest of some of the country’s key officials, including then-President Win Myint and de facto Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, who remain in detention and face various criminal charges.
In order to unite forces and seek international recognition, the opposition to the junta announced in April the government of national unity, a kind of political administration that now also wants its own security forces.
It has announced the creation of the People’s Defense Forces, one step ahead of the formation of an army, according to a statement by the independent news portal “Myanmar Now”. The note gives no further details on the composition of this new body.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet warned in April of the risk that the political crisis in Burma would lead to civil war, referring to “clear similarities” with the beginning of the conflict in Syria in 2011 The Former Chilean President, seeing signs of crimes against humanity over the violent repression of the protests, denounced the use of sophisticated weapons to contain these demonstrations.
The Association for Aid to Political Prisoners (AAPP), which independently collects data on victims of this repression, estimates the death toll is already 470, while more than 4,700 people have been arrested since the coup.