Myanmar seeks charges for protest leader

·2-min read

Myanmar authorities are seeking to file charges of murder and treason against one of the main leaders of the protest campaign against military rule, the state broadcaster has said.

Wai Moe Naing was arrested on April 15 when security men rammed him with a car as he led a motorbike protest rally in the central town of Monywa.

Myanmar Television, in its main evening news bulletin, broadcast a list of charges being sought against him, including murder and treason, that it said had been filed with police.

Wai Moe Naing, a 25-year-old Muslim, has emerged as one of the most high-profile leaders of opposition to the February 1 coup that overthrew an elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

It is not clear if he has a lawyer.

Pro-democracy protests have taken place in cities and towns across the country since the coup, with Monywa one of the main centres of opposition.

The military has cracked down with lethal force on the protesters, killing more than 750 people, an activist group says.

Fighting has also intensified between the military and ethnic minority Karen insurgents in the east with more air strikes sending villagers fleeing into neighbouring Thailand, Thai officials said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Myanmar's pro-democracy unity government, formed to oppose the junta, ruled out talks on the crisis until all political prisoners are released.

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), alarmed by the turmoil in one of its members, has been trying to find a path for Myanmar out of the crisis and held a meeting on Saturday in the Indonesian capital with the leader of the junta, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

The pro-democracy National Unity Government (NUG), which includes members of parliament ousted by the coup, was not invited to the talks. It said ASEAN should be engaging with it as the legitimate representative of the people.