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APAC

Defying junta, ousted Myanmar lawmakers convene for oaths of office

(Reuters) - Denied their chance to take their parliament seats after a coup in Myanmar this week, a group of lawmakers held their own house session on Thursday in a show of defiance towards the return of military rule.

About a dozen elected legislators from deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party held the session in their living quarters in the capital Naypyitaw, where they signed oaths of office.

“We can call for a Hluttaw meeting anywhere, anytime, where the committee members are,” said Phyu Phyu Thin of the NLD, using the local name for parliament. “Getting elected by our citizens cannot be erased, no matter what.”

The military has alleged fraud in the November election won overwhelmingly by the NLD. The poll body said it found no irregularities that would have changed the outcome.

The military intervened on Monday to prevent parliament from convening and endorsing a new NLD government, which it said was tantamount to taking sovereign power by force. Suu Kyi is among scores of people detained.

Residents of the commercial capital Yangon honked car horns and smashed on pots and pans on Thursday to show support for the lawmakers, in a third successive night of noise in protest at the coup.

A civil disobedience campaign continued and an anti-coup protest was held for the first time, in the city of Mandalay.

Phyu Phyu Thin said the NLD would encourage hundreds of other incoming lawmakers to sign their oaths and share them online and start holding house sessions.

“We will try to get away from this kind of military dictatorship of Myanmar,” Phyu Phyu Thin said. “We, the Hluttaw members, will have the same will as our citizens and will try to get rid of this terrorism by the military.”

Reporting by Reuters Staff; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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