Following the junta’s decision to expand democracy figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi’s prison sentence to 33 years, Myanmar’s military marched troops and weapons through the military-built capital Naypyidaw on Wednesday to commemorate Independence Day.
Since the military took control over two years ago, conflict between junta troops and anti-coup rebels has spread across large portions of the country in Southeast Asia.
The junta is getting ready for new elections later this year, which the US has called a “sham,” after recently concluding Suu Kyi’s series of trials in secret.
AFP correspondents said that tanks, missile launchers, and armored cars began to drive through the early morning air to a parade ground in the capital, signaling the beginning of a military spectacle to commemorate 75 years since Myanmar earned independence from Britain.
As 750 “peace” doves were released to commemorate the occasion, according to official media, civil servants and high school students followed the troops while being accompanied by a military band.
Min Aung Hlaing, the leader of the junta, accused unnamed nations of “intervening in Myanmar’s domestic affairs” since the February 2021 coup in a speech to the assembled troops.
He claimed, without providing more information, “the proportional representation electoral system” is the topic of meetings between the military and political parties.
According to analysts, the junta may abandon the first-past-the-post voting procedure that helped Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy gain resounding victories in the years 2020 and 2015.