Myanmar’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been handed a second criminal charge on the day she appeared in court via video link.
Aung San Suu Kyi, who was earlier charged with possessing illegal walkie-talkies, is now also alleged to have violated Myanmar’s Natural Disaster Law.
It is not clear what the new charge, issued on February 16, relates to.
Myanmar’s military earlier repeated its promise to hold fresh elections and relinquish power as protests continue.
Anti-coup demonstrators are demanding the release of their elected leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, following the military coup on February 1.
In the military’s first news conference since toppling the government, spokesman Brig. Gen. Zaw Min Tun said the armed forces would not remain in power for long, and promised to “hand power back to the winning party” following a planned election.
However, he did not provide a date for the vote.
Speaking in Nay Pyi Taw on February 16, Zaw Min Tun also repeated the claim – without providing evidence – of fraud in last November’s election.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party won a resounding victory in the poll. The military has claimed fraud as a justification for its coup.
The former leader made a brief virtual appearance at a court in the capital Nay Pyi Taw on February 16. She reportedly answered questions about legal arrangements and representation.
Her next court appearance is scheduled to take place on March 1.
Zaw Min Tun said that Aung San Suu Kyi had been confined to her home for her own safety, and that she was “comfortable and healthy”.
He used the news conference to accuse anti-coup protesters of violence and intimidation against the security forces.
A police officer had been wounded by “lawless actions” and had later died from his injuries, he said.
Protesters have clashed with security officers and there have been recent reports of police using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds.
One protester remains in a critical condition after being shot in the head on February 9.
Mya Thwe Thwe Khaing, 19, was hurt while taking part in a protest – though it is not clear exactly what she was hit by. Rights groups say her wound is consistent with one from live ammunition.
Zaw Min Tun said some measures taken to control crowds of protesters were in response to bricks being thrown at police.
The UN has warned Myanmar’s military – which on February 15 announced penalties of up to 20 years in prison for those opposing the coup leaders – that there would be “severe consequences” for any brutal suppression of the ongoing anti-coup protests there.
Meanwhile, access to the internet in Myanmar was restored on February 16 after it had been cut off for a second night.
The junta has been regularly blocking the web to try to stifle dissent since the coup began.
On February 13, the military gave itself the power to make arrests, carry out searches and hold people for more than 24 hours without a court ruling, while telling journalists not to describe the military’s takeover as a coup.