Myanmar’s new military leader said on Monday the ruling junta would hold a fresh election and hand power to the winner, saying that campaigning in a vote last November had not been fair.
General Min Aung Hlaing was speaking in a televised address as tens of thousands of people joined a third day of street demonstrations in towns and cities across Mynamar to denounce the military for its seizure of power last Monday.
Police warned protesters to disperse or face force to stifle the demonstrations against the coup and the arrest of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy won the November election.
The generals had earlier tried to justify their takeover on the grounds of election fraud and had promised a new poll.
Min Aung Hlaing reiterated that position in his address on Monday, saying the junta would form a “true and disciplined democracy” different to previous eras of military rule.
The election committee must be reformed, he said. It had used the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse and did not allow fair campaigning, he said.
In the capital Naypyitaw, three lines of police in riot gear stood in the road as protesters chanted anti-coup slogans and told police they should serve the people not the military, according to media and a live feed of events.
Police placed a sign in the road saying that live ammunition could be used if demonstrators breached the third line of officers.
Earlier, police in Naypyitaw briefly turned water cannon on protesters. Reuters has been unable to contact the junta for comment on the protests.