April 7 (UPI) -- Myanmar's military killed at least seven protesters and a bystander and injured nearly two dozen others in an attack Wednesday on a protesters camp, officials said.
The junta attack on the Tarhan protesters camp in Kalay happened before dawn Wednesday.
"The troops blocked all the directions through which locals could send help to the stronghold," a source told Myanmar Now. "So people from other villages couldn't come to help defend."
Witnesses said the military junta attacked the camp with machine guns and grenades. Several of the injured were arrested before activists intensified their protest of the military over its government takeover, which began in February.
Junta Brigadier Gen. Zaw Min Tun told the Southeast Asia Globe in a report Wednesday that Myanmar's constitution allows military forces to extend the current state of emergency for as long as two years.
The military is able to keep control of the government under the emergency until new civilian elections are held.
"Within one year we are trying to stabilize the country, but if we can't, we will have to extend it six more months," Zaw Min Tun told the paper. "And after that, another six months but that is it."
The military junta has charged deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi with multiple crimes since the Feb. 1 coup. The takeover was based on claims that elections last fall, which kept Suu Kyi and her party in power, were illegitimate.