Myanmar military in power 'temporarily': junta chief

Myanmar's junta is holding power only temporarily with the aim of strengthening democracy, the ruling general has said while calling for unity to fight armed groups seeking to derail plans to hold an election.

Addressing an annual Armed Forces Day parade, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who led a coup in 2021, said his opponents were receiving foreign backing and trying to destroy the country and thwart plans to return Myanmar to democratic rule.

"The military, police force and people's militia are working to restore peace and stability," he told hundreds of soldiers in the capital Naypyitaw on Wednesday.

"We need to have unity between the military and the people."

The military faces its biggest challenge since first taking power in the former British colony in 1962, fighting on multiple fronts to contain uprisings across the country and stabilise an economy that has wilted since the coup.

Myanmar is locked in a civil war between the military a loose alliance of ethnic minority rebels and an armed resistance movement spawned out of the junta's bloody crackdown on anti-coup protests.

Activists and some Western nations accuse the military of committing atrocities to suppress the rebellion, with widespread use of air strikes and heavy artillery in civilian areas and allegations of arbitrary arrests, torture and executions.

The junta has dismissed those accusations as falsehoods.

Min Aung Hlaing said opponents were committing violence, looting and spreading hate, and the military was being targeted by fake news from international journalists and social media users

"Some powerful nations," he said without citing evidence, were trying to interfere with Myanmar's internal affairs by helping armed groups fighting the military.

Min Aung Hlaing reiterated that the military had seized power because a 2020 election was marred by fraud, with nearly 30 per cent of ballots invalid.

The party of Aung San Suu Kyi, which won that vote in a landslide, has denied that accusation.

Suu Kyi is in prison, sentenced to 27 years for various alleged offences.

Min Aung Hlaing said the next election, for which he provided no time frame, would be held under a mixed-member proportional representation system that would be more inclusive.

In a statement, UK Indo-Pacific Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said people were suffering "horrendous acts of violence at the military regime's hands".

Canada's embassy said it "condemns in the strongest possible terms the ongoing atrocities" perpetrated by the military.