The Myanmar military’s spokesman, Zaw Min Tun, said the one-year state of emergency imposed by the junta during its February coup could be extended.

This indicated a push-back of potential elections.

Tun did not give a clear timeline for elections but said the state of emergency could be extended for six months or more, in excerpts from an interview with CNN published late Thursday.

He said a free and fair vote would have to be held within two years under the country’s constitution.

But he also told the broadcaster “the standard of democracy in Myanmar will not be the same as from Western counties’’.

Tun also said there is “solid evidence” of the voter fraud, which the army has used to justify seizing power.

He, however, did not present any proof to CNN.

Civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was detained by the military in the February coup after her National League for Democracy (NLD) party won an election by a landslide.

Local observers have said the vote was credible.

The military’s actions have prompted widespread protests, to which soldiers have responded with a violent crackdown on the population.

Over 2,850 have been arrested and at least 614 have been killed, including 48 children, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a non-profit organisation.

Tun said the security forces were using “minimum force” against protesters.

“There will be deaths when they are cracking down on the riots, but we are not shooting around without discipline,’’ he said.

On Friday, Tun accused Myanmar’s Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), which organises the protests against the junta, of committing “genocide”.

Reports say many doctors are now refusing to work in state-controlled hospitals and to take care of those injured during the protests.

“They are killing people. If this is not genocide, what shall I call it?’’ he said during a press conference broadcast live on national television.

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Many doctors continue to work in secret, however.

“All know who are committing genocide,’’ Phyo Min, a medical doctor from Yangon told dpa on the phone, pointing the finger at the junta.

“We can’t work under such terrorists.

“But many of us are working for the people now while hiding from the danger.

“We give health care freely to civilians.’’ (dpa/NAN)


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