Myanmar Extends Martial Law to Western State as Unrest Grows
Demonstrators hold up images of Aung San Suu Kyi during a protest outside the United Nations Building in Bangkok. (Photographer: Andre Malerba/Bloomberg)

Myanmar Extends Martial Law to Western State as Unrest Grows

Myanmar military government on Thursday declared martial law in Mindat, in western Chin State, after a police station and a branch of the state-owned Myanma Economic Bank were attacked by an armed group described as “terrorists” by the regime.

The order of the State Administration Council, led by coup chief Min Aung Hlaing, added the township of Chin, home to about 50,000 mostly ethnic minorities, to the list of areas for military crackdowns. The township joins the six Yangon townships that have been under “full military rule” since March.

“According to Article 419 of the Constitution, administrative and judicial powers have been transferred to the commander of the Northwest Command to ensure safety, the rule of law and peace in the township,” the statement read.

Under martial law, people arrested on charges including treason, incitement, the arms act, and attacking soldiers and civil servants will be tried in military courts and subject to the death penalty. The regional commander must report the latest developments to the junta chief, the order stated.

The move follows attacks late Wednesday that continued into Thursday. An armed group of roughly 50 people attacked security forces protecting the state-owned bank with home-made weapons twice Wednesday night and later Thursday, and a larger group of 100 attacked the township police station with arms. No security officers were injured, according to the junta’s information team.

Amid the regime’s arrests of protest leaders and bloody crackdowns, pro-democracy supporters continued to take to the streets in many cities. Two students in Mindat and Myingyan townships were killed by junta forces in Mindat on Thursday, pushing the civilian death toll since the Feb. 1 coup up to 788, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.