Myanmar military holds parade amid intensified fighting

Myanmar's junta has held a large-scale parade to mark Armed Forces Day. It came as the junta is struggling to fend off a growing armed resistance in the wake of the 2021 coup.

The parade wound its way through the capital, Naypyitaw on Wednesday.

Armed Forces Day commemorates the start of the country's fight for independence in 1945.

The parade is usually held in the morning with the junta's top general Min Aung Hlaing in attendance. But this year, it got underway in the early evening.

Fighting between the military and ethnic minority militants together with pro-democracy forces has been intensifying since late last year.

Many soldiers have been killed while others have surrendered. The United States Institute of Peace estimates the military has shrunk in size by about 20,000 troops since the coup.

This may have pushed the military to announce compulsory military service in February. The news has prompted many young people to flee to neighboring Thailand or join pro-democracy forces.