Myanmar's National Unity Government (NUG), a government in exile formed by lawmakers ousted in the Feb. 1 military coup, declared on Tuesday “people's defensive war” against the ruling junta.
In a video posted on Facebook, Duwa Lashi La, the acting president of NUG, asked all the citizens of Myanmar to revolt against military rule.
He ordered the People’s Defense Force, the shadow government's armed wing, to target the military junta and its assets "in your respective areas," and protect the lives and properties of the people.
The official urged military-appointed administrators to resign immediately, and called on ethnic armed organizations to attack the military regime in every way possible. "Fully control your lands," he said.
He said border guards and junta-allied militias should defect from the military council and "join with the people and attack the people's enemy."
“This revolution is a just revolution, a necessary revolution for building a peaceful country and an establishment of a federal union," said Duwa Lashi La.
He vowed to “uproot dictatorship from Myanmar for good” and “establish a peaceful federal democratic union that fully safeguards equality and is long-aspired by all the citizens.”
Myanmar's military ousted President Win Myint and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, and detained them along with other senior members of the pre-coup ruling National League for Democracy party, citing "election fraud."
The takeover has led to months of protests and a mass civil disobedience movement, which has been responded with brutal force. The death toll has risen to 1,049, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a local monitoring group.
Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, leader of the military regime, has named himself the prime minister, promising multi-party elections and lifting the state of emergency by August 2023 – instead of the initial one-year timeline.
Last month, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations appointed Erywan Yusof, Brunei's second minister for foreign affairs, as special envoy to Myanmar.
The 10-member bloc has been trying to end violence in Myanmar and open a dialogue between the opposing sides in line with a five-point consensus reached in April.