Myanmar’s shadow government declares war on junta

Myanmar’s National Unity Government announced this morning the beginning of a nationwide uprising against the ruling junta.

Declaring a state of emergency, Acting President Duwa Lashi La vowed in a morning address to remove the military from power and restore civilian rule.

“Fight against Min Aung Hlaing’s terrorist military administration on a national scale,” he said.  “We will remove Min Aung Hlaing and uproot the dictatorship from Myanmar for good.”

Chan, a 27-year-old Yangon resident who lives near the airport, told Coconuts that he’s seen increased military activity since this morning’s announcement. He asked that his full name not be used.

“I was on my way from the gym to work when I read about the news,” he said. “I was excited to see it and I felt happy it’s finally here. I was thinking how could I be a part of this revolution — how can I help during this time. The roads are busy with people preparing to stock food and medicine.”

Duwa Lashi La said the junta would be attacked in retaliation for the coup’s horrors, including the over thousand dead, and that all government bureaucrats and employees should resign today.

There were already reports of  fighting erupting in places like Palaw between the military and forces aligned with the Karen National Liberation Army and People’s Defense Forces, or PDF.

The shadow government’s acting president also called on the PDF to take measures to protect people’s lives and property, strictly follow instructions and abide by their commanders rules of engagement. He also urged the public to avoid unnecessary travel, store food and medicine, report the movements of military units to the civilian resistance forces, and do their utmost to support them.

He urged ethnic armed groups to begin targeting the military junta and its affiliates today, with the goal of establishing a long-term federal state. He expressed hope that the international community would accept the choice to resolve the crisis militarily, calling it a “just and fair revolution.”

While the insurgent forces have morale and motivation, it’s unclear how they can prevail against the much larger and better-equipped Tatmadaw, as Myanmar’s military is called.

Following the Feb. 1 coup d’etat, junta security forces have killed more than 1,000 citizens and imprisoned thousands more. Ordinary civilians have retaliated by taking up arms and carrying out attacks on the military, its infrastructure and those suspected of assisting it.

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