Myanmar’s military has warned anti-coup protesters across the country that they could face up to 20 years in prison if they obstruct the armed forces.
According to the military, sentences and fines will also apply to those found to incite “hatred or contempt” towards the coup leaders.
The new law was announced as armoured vehicles appeared on the streets of several cities.
Hundreds of thousands of people have taken part in protests in recent days demanding the release from detention of their elected leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and the restoration of democracy in Myanmar, after the military carried out a coup on February 1.
Her party was elected in a resounding victory last November, but the military has alleged voter fraud without providing proof.
In a statement posted on a military website on Monday, February 15, it said that people preventing the security forces from carrying out their duties could face 20 years in prison, while those found to stir up fear or unrest in public could be imprisoned for terms of three to seven years.
The military government on Saturday gave itself the power to make arrests, carry out searches and hold people for more than 24 hours without a court ruling. It has also told journalists not to describe the military’s takeover as a coup.
On Monday, Myanmar’s leader, Suu Kyi’s lawyer, Khin Maung Zaw said she would be detained for a further two days and then she will be tried at a court in the capital Nay Pyi Taw on Wednesday.
The charges against Suu Kyi include possession of unlawful communication devices, walkie-talkies used by her security staff.
Myanmar, also known as Burma, was long considered a pariah state while under the rule of an oppressive military junta from 1962 to 2011.
The country had free elections in 2015 and the installation of a government led by veteran opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi the following year.