Myanmar junta agrees to ceasefire request – ASEAN

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Protesters hold a banner they march during a demonstration against the military coup in Myanmar that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. Ousted democratic leaders in Myanmar have said they are rescinding the country's 2008 constitution, which gave significant power to the armed forces. Photo: Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Wire/dpa
Protesters hold a banner they march during a demonstration against the military coup in Myanmar that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. Ousted democratic leaders in Myanmar have said they are rescinding the country's 2008 constitution, which gave significant power to the armed forces. Photo: Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Wire/dpa

Myanmar’s military junta has agreed to a ceasefire requested by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the group’s special envoy, Erywan Yusof, said in an interview with Japan’s Kyodo news agency.

Erywan, Brunei’s second foreign minister, had proposed the ceasefire in a videoconference with Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin last week and his request was accepted, he said in the interview on Saturday.

He had indirectly passed the same message to the groups opposing the military coup, the ASEAN envoy added.

The move has drawn heavy criticism in Myanmar, however, where people accuse ASEAN of doing too little in recent months to protect them from a brutal military crackdown.

“ASEAN did not protect us when the junta killed the civilians, but now the civilians fight back against the junta and ASEAN wants to protect them,” one user posted in response to a news report on the Voice of America’s Burmese website.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the country’s military staged a coup on February 1, ousting the elected civilian government and arresting leaders, including Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

More than 1,000 people have been killed so far in the military’s crackdown on protests, according to the local Assistance Association for Political Prisoners NGO. In many regions, armed resistance movements have formed.

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