Myanmar coup opponents form rival govt

People have taken to the streets in Myanmar day after day, defying crackdowns by security forces.
People have taken to the streets in Myanmar day after day, defying crackdowns by security forces.

Opponents of the February 1 coup in Myanmar have set up an alternate, opposition government, dubbing it the National Unity Government.

Like the civilian government that was ousted by the military, the new body includes Win Myint as president and Aung San Suu Kyi as state counsellor, a position she turned into the de facto head of government.

However, those two have both been in detention since the coup, which is why the opposition leaders created a prime minister position, which will be filled by Mahn Win Khaing Than, a member of the ethnic Karen group and a former parliamentary speaker for Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD).

Organisers said it was important to them to include people from different ethnic groups and to set up a proto government with ministries including the country's first ministry for women, youth and children's affairs.

NUG leaders said they intended to form a federal army and were in talks with ethnic minority forces.

The junta that ousted the old government has not reacted.

The military - which is guaranteed control of a veto-blocking minority in the legislation - was shocked by the NLD's gains in elections last year and justified the coup by saying that the NLD fixed the vote, a claim rejected by the election commission.

Protests against the coup continued on Friday in the cities of Mandalay and Monywa.

According to human rights groups, more than 720 people have died since the violence began and 3000 are currently in detention.

Australian Associated Press