Opponents of Myanmar's junta have announced a National Unity Government including ousted members of parliament, leaders of anti-coup protests and ethnic minorities, saying their aim is to root out military rule and restore democracy.
Myanmar has been in violent turmoil since a February 1 coup that ousted a civilian government led by democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi, which had held power for five years and was starting its second term after a landslide election victory in November.
People have been taking to the streets day after day to demand the restoration of democracy, defying crackdowns by the security forces in which more than 700 people have been killed, according to a monitoring group.
"Please welcome the people's government," veteran democracy activist Min Ko Naing said in a 10-minute video address announcing the formation of the National Unity Government.
Min Ko Naing said the will of the people was the unity government's priority.
The generals justified their takeover with accusations of fraud in the November election won by Suu Kyi's party, though the election commission dismissed the objections.
The unity's government's minister of international cooperation, Dr Sasa, told reporters the United States and Britain had recognised Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate leader of that country.
"We are the democratically elected leaders of Myanmar," said Sasa, who goes by one name. "So if the free and democratic world rejects us that means they reject democracy."
International pressure has also been building on the Myanmar military, particularly from Western governments that have imposed limited sanctions, though the generals have a long record of dismissing what they see as outside interference.
The unity government released a list of office holders including members of ethnic minorities and protest leaders, underlining the unity of purpose between the pro-democracy movement and autonomy-seeking minority communities, some of whom have battled the central government for decades.
Suu Kyi has been in detention since the coup with the only known communication with the outside world monitored video calls with her lawyers.
While the politicians were announcing the unity government, other opponents of military rule observed a "silent strike" staying home to mourn those killed or wearing black in small marches in half a dozen cities and towns, media reported.
Streets in the main city of Yangon were largely deserted, residents said.
There were no immediate reports of violence but overnight, two people were shot and killed in the central town of Myingyan, Radio Free Asia reported.
The military has also been rounding up critics. Two prominent protest organisers were arrested on Thursday along with an actor and singer, both known for speaking out against the coup.
Unity government leaders said they intended to form a federal army and were in talks with ethnic minority forces.
Leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes Myanmar, will meet in Indonesia on April 24 to discuss the situation, Thai and Indonesian media reported.
Junta leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing was due to attend, a Thai broadcaster said, but the Jakarta Post said it had not been confirmed whether the summit would include representatives of the junta or the former government.