Six More Myanmar Celebrities to Face Arrest for Support of Civil Disobedience Movement

By The Irrawaddy 17 February 2021

Myanmar’s military added six more artists and film directors to its list of arrest warrants on Wednesday. The six, charged with incitement against the military regime, have urged civil servants to take part in the nationwide civil disobedience movement (CDM) in resistance to the Feb. 1 coup.

Started by healthcare workers two days after the coup, the CDM movement has been gaining momentum with some police, teachers, engineers, railway staff, bank staff as well as news announcers from the Ministry of Information boycotting the coup.

In its public statement on Wednesday evening, the regime accused the six — Myanmar’s famous film actors Pyay Ti Oo and Lu Min, film directors Ko Pauk, Wyne and Na Gyi, and rapper Anaga — of using their popularity to call for civil servants to join the CDM and anti-coup protests.

They are charged under Article 505(a) of the Penal Code at the respective townships where they reside.

The regime also warned the public that “those who host them will also be [subject to] legal actions.”

Since Feb. 6, hundreds of thousands of Myanmar citizens have taken to the streets to protest against the coup, denouncing the regime and urging the release of detained civilian leaders, including State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint.

Since the pre-dawn coup on Feb. 1, the military has detained more than 450 people. Few have been released.

On Saturday, the military announced arrest warrants for seven people — including veteran student leaders U Min Ko Naing and U Kyaw Min Yu (a.k.a. U Jimmy) and social influencers — accusing them of the same charge, but under article 505(b) of the Penal Code. The charge has been widely used to stifle political dissent under previous military regimes. If found guilty, the accused face up to two years in prison.

Veteran leaders went into hiding but sent out messages online frequently to anti-coup protesters. Their social media messages also called for civil servants to take part in the civil disobedience movement.

The regime made slight amendments to the provisions of Article 505 on Feb. 14, 2021.

Editor’s Note: The article has been updated to correct the charge that the artists face; they are charged under Section 505(a), not 505(b).

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