NLD rejects requests to reopen party offices amid junta repression

The National League for Democracy (NLD) announced this week that it would not reopen its offices and resume operations under the junta after several members reportedly requested that the party restart its activities. 

Several NLD leaders including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and state and regional chief ministers have been imprisoned since the February 2021 coup, in which the military rejected the results of the 2020 general election which saw the NLD win a majority of seats. 

The NLD released a July 5 statement describing how the reopening of their offices under the junta would defy the will of the people, who have widely opposed the coup through protest and armed resistance. The party vowed to take action against anyone who entered NLD offices without permission. 

Tun Myint, an NLD parliamentarian elected to represent Yangon’s Bahan Township and a member of the party’s central working committee (CWC), told Myanmar Now that this week’s statement reflected the position of the CWC, formed in November last year. 

He warned that “traitors” within the NLD were attempting to restart party operations, but did not name these individuals.

“There is a group of members that asked for the keys to the [main] office, saying they wanted to fix the internet, to ‘donate water’ and to fix the solar panels,” Tun Myint explained. 

By contacting Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers, the members reportedly asked the detained party chair for permission to resume operations, but Tun Myint claimed that the State Counsellor denied the request.

“We must not reopen our offices and do campaign activities while the military is arresting, torturing and killing anyone who opposes them,” Tun Myint said. 

Days after last year’s coup, Myanmar army soldiers and police raided the NLD’s Yangon headquarters on Shwegondaing Rd, seizing official documents. 

A group of soldiers and police officers seen blocking the road in front of the NLD headquarters on February 9, 2021 (Myanmar Now)

The following month, on armed forces day—March 26—a group of unknown assailants threw molotov cocktails at the site, requiring locals in the area to put out the subsequent fire in the building. 

A bomb also went off at the headquarters on the evening of June 16. 

There have been more than 100 attacks on NLD offices nationwide, the majority of which took place at night, when only junta personnel are allowed to go out, due to military-enforced curfews. 

Some 224 party members, 119 of whom are elected parliamentarians, have also had their homes sealed off by the military. 

Aung San Suu Kyi is currently facing 19 criminal charges and has already been sentenced to 11 years in prison. Since late June, she has been held in a specially designated building within a prison in Naypyitaw.


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