Myanmar’s Medics Launch Civil Disobedience Campaign Against Coup

By The Irrawaddy 3 February 2021

Yangon – Medical staff from more than 110 government hospitals and health departments at about 50 townships across Myanmar have launched a civil disobedience movement against Monday’s military coup.

By Wednesday evening, staff from government hospitals and health departments in around 50 townships had joined the movement against the coup, according to Dr. Hein Wint War, a campaign member.

Several hundred doctors and other medical staff are on strike against the coup and other medics are organizing a red-ribbon campaign against military rule while still working.

Ribbons are pinned to staff clothing and three-finger salutes are raised to show solidarity with the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD). The gesture was used in Thailand after the May 2014 coup and comes from the Hunger Games films.

Dr. Lynn Latyar, a surgeon at the 500-bed Lashio Government General Hospital in northern Shan State, told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that 38 out of 40 doctors and 50 out of 70 nurses have joined the movement and are not going to hospital.

“We totally oppose the coup. This is violence towards our elected government. We totally condemn this violence,” Dr. Lynn Latyar said. “We hope our people understand. We want everyone to know we cannot serve under an unelected administration.”

Government doctors are planning to give free treatment to patients with medical records issued by government hospitals at private clinics, he said.

Dr. Lynn Latyar said protests will continue against the military until the elected government returns.

Another campaigner, Dr. Hein Wint War, called on civil servants, civil society organizations, trade unions and the public to join the movement.

Staff at Mandalay’s 500-bed Orthopedic Hospital left work on Wednesday as the part of the civil disobedience movement. / Zaw Zaw / The Irrawaddy

“Nothing is impossible if we are united,” Dr. Hein Wint War said. “Don’t forget Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who said the country depends on its citizens.”

The detained state counselor has called on the public to oppose the military coup.

The “Chair NLD” Facebook page hours after she was detained posted: “Resist the coup resoundingly.”

The civil disobedience movement is calling for the release of President U Win Myint, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other government figures.

It also called for parliament to convene with its recently elected parliamentarians.

Meanwhile, some staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, have joined the civil disobedience movement.

Yangon residents on Tuesday and Wednesday nights banged pots and pans to protest against the coup.

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