Myanmar’s coalition gov’t forming soon: Acting leader

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YANGON, Myanmar 

The acting leader of Myanmar’s parallel civilian government stressed on Saturday the need for the formation of a federal coalition army to protect pro-democracy protesters from the coup-installed regime.

Man Win Khaing Than, who was appointed by ousted lawmakers as vice president and acting president of the civilian government, said a federal coalition government would soon be formed following negotiations with political forces based in the country’s ethnic areas.

“It is also urgently required to join hands with ethnic brothers and sisters in forming a federal army to protect the lives and properties of the people in the country,” he said in an address marking the March 27 Resistance Day, the day the army started to resist the Japanese occupation in 1945.

It was renamed by the Myanmar military to Armed Forces Day and is celebrated annually with a show of military power.

The National Security Council, formed and led by military chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing after the Feb. 1 coup, has been escalating a violent crackdown on protesters demanding the immediate end of military rule.

At least 328 protesters have been killed by security forces during weeks of unrest as of Friday, according to the Association for Political Prisoners, an activist group based in Thailand.

Coup leader Min Aung Hlaing, in his address, condemned the protesters for creating instability.

But he reiterated his promise to hold elections after the state of emergency but did not provide a specific date.

In a televised message late Friday, the junta warned that the protesters risk being shot in the head and back if they continue anti-coup demonstrations, while the protesters ignored the threat and took to the streets in several towns and cities on Saturday.

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