Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi says “no comment” on war declaration against the junta by a shadow government dominated by lawmakers from her party, her lawyer said Monday.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military ousted Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy government in a February coup, sparking huge democracy protests which have triggered a bloody crackdown from the junta.
NLD lawmakers make up the majority of a “National Unity Government” 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 over a dozen army-owned communications towers have been attacked, according to anti-junta groups.
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.
Nonviolence is a core principle of Suu Kyi’s 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 the 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 Southeast 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.