Myanmar's Suu Kyi has 'no comment' on shadow government's call for war against junta

Toppled Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi would comment only after discussions with others in the NLD leadership. PHOTO: AFP

YANGON (AFP) - Toppled Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has "no comment" on a declaration of war against the junta by a shadow government dominated by lawmakers from her party, her lawyer said on Monday (Sept 20).

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military ousted Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) government in a February coup, sparking huge democracy protests that have triggered a bloody crackdown from the junta.

NLD lawmakers make up the majority of a National Unity Government (NUG), which is working to overturn the military regime and declared a "people's defensive war" earlier this month, urging citizens to attack junta assets.

Following the declaration, clashes between local "people's defence forces" and the military have increased, and more than a dozen army-owned communications towers have been attacked, according to anti-junta groups.

Ms Suu Kyi had "no comment" when asked by her lawyers about the NUG's declaration of war, her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said, and would comment only after discussions with others in the NLD leadership.

"She said she never turns against the wishes of the people," he added.

Non-violence is a core principle of Ms Suu Kyi and was a defining characteristic of the democracy movement she led against a previous junta decades ago.

But many young protesters have embraced the resistance movement, seeing it as the only way to permanently root out military dominance of the country's politics and economy.

Nobel laureate Suu Kyi, 76, has been held under house arrest since the coup, cut off from the outside world apart from court appearances and meetings with her lawyers.

She appeared at a special court in capital Naypyidaw on Monday for the latest hearing over allegedly importing walkie-talkies illegally and flouting coronavirus restrictions during elections last year that her party won by a landslide.

She faces a raft of other charges and could be jailed for decades if convicted.

Journalists have been barred from all proceedings so far.

The ongoing unrest has paralysed the economy of the South-east Asian nation.

More than 1,100 people have been killed and over 8,000 arrested, according to a local monitoring group.

The military says the toll is much lower.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.