Ultranationalist monks declare readiness to take up arms in support of Myanmar junta

Members of the extremist Buddhist group Union of Patriotic Monks said they would renounce their robes and fight alongside the weakened military if it proved necessary to defeat the Brotherhood Alliance

Buddhist nationalist monks known for their staunch alignment with the Myanmar military said at rallies in various Myanmar cities this week that they might leave their monastic orders and arm themselves to fight alongside the army against anti-junta forces.

They declared these intentions at public demonstrations held on Thursday in Mawlamyine, Mon State and Lashio, northern Shan State to denounce the ethnically Kokang armed group Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), just over a week after the Kokang group’s capture of the town of Laukkai on the China-Myanmar border.

When a video circulated online purportedly depicting an MNDAA fighter using a hammer to vandalise a Buddhist temple near Laukkai on Monday, it came to the attention of the Patriotic Monks’ Association, whose membership includes monks formerly in or closely associated with the ultranationalist monks’ group Ma Ba Tha, which was disbanded by religious authorities in 2017 after. . .

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