Myanmar’s new military junta, which overturned the results of democratic elections when it seized power last Monday, has warned the public not to “destroy” democracy following three days of protests. In a statement on the government-run MRTV channel, the military warned that “democracy can be destroyed” without discipline, and that people who “harm the state’s stability, public safety and the rule of law” could face legal action.

It came as concerns are growing that the junta will crack down on tens of thousands of people protesting against the February 1 coup, after the military imposed a curfew and restrictions on public gatherings in the second largest city, Mandalay, amid threats to use live ammunition against demonstrators.

The military has disbanded the National reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC), the leading internal peace process mechanism of the previous National League for Democracy (NLD) government, while arresting some of its civilian leaders. The Tatmadaw (military) has informed the ethnic armed groups that future peace talks will be continued only with the military-formed peace committee.

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Meanwhile, a curfew from 8 pm to 4 am was imposed on Monday in seven townships in Mandalay — Aung Myay Tharzan, Maha Aung Myay, Amarapura, Patheingyi, Pyigyitakon, Chan Aye Tharzan and Chan Myay Tharzi. Some reports said that martial law has been imposed in the seven townships in Myanmar.

Access to the internet and social media have been severely restricted following the overthrow of the government and tens of thousands of people on Monday took to the streets for the third consecutive day of widespread protests against the coup.

The US State Department said that it was “very concerned” about military-imposed restrictions on public gatherings and offered support for the country’s peaceful protests. New Zealand announced the suspension of high-level military and political contacts with Myanmar on Tuesday, the first major international move to isolate the country’s ruling junta following a coup.

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