The military has continuously extended emergency rule since it took power in a coup in February 2021.
Myanmar’s ruling military government has extended the state of emergency in the country for six months.
The National Defence and Security Council decided to prolong emergency rule for another six-month stint on Wednesday, just ahead of the previous term’s expiry at midnight. The move further delays elections that were promised following the coup that put the military government in power in February 2021.
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The Southeast Asian nation has been in turmoil since the coup, which ended a 10-year experiment with democracy and sparked mass protests and a crackdown on dissent.
The military says it is not able to lift the state of emergency while it is battling armed opposition across the country.
“Myint Swe, the acting president, announced the extension of the state of emergency … as the situation is not normal and to be able to continue the process of combatting terrorists,” the government said in a statement.
The council discussed “preparations for holding multi-party elections” and a national census at its meeting in the military-built capital of Naypyidaw, the statement added, without giving further details.
Emergency rule extended
The military has continuously extended emergency rule since it took power in February 2021, toppling ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s government.
More than 4,400 people have been killed in a crackdown on dissent since, according to a local monitoring group.
The military-drafted 2008 constitution, which the current government has said is still in force, requires authorities to hold fresh elections within six months of a state of emergency being lifted.
However, the government is struggling to crush widespread armed opposition to its rule and recently suffered a series of stunning setbacks to an alliance of ethnic minority armed groups.
More than two million people have been displaced by the violence, according to the United Nations.
Spring Revolution eyes victory
Since 2021, Myanmar has faced a barrage of international sanctions, undoing years of progress and leaving the economy 10 percent smaller than it was in 2019.
On Wednesday, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch were among those calling on the international community to cut off the military’s access to jet fuel.
The UN and human rights groups have accused military generals of rights abuses in their crackdown on the opposition, including crimes against humanity.
Furthermore, economists say the generals who toppled the previous government increasingly rely on illicit revenues from gem mining and logging.
The country’s anti-coup forces, however, say they are moving closer to victory against the military.
“After three years, the Spring Revolution is stronger than ever,” Duwa Lashi La, the acting president of the National Unity Government (NUG), an alliance of ethnic armed groups and resistance fighters, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday.
“With each passing day, we are edging closer to victory. The criminal military will never crush the will of the people.”
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