Burma

Thousands Join Peaceful Protests Against Myanmar Military

By The Irrawaddy 5 February 2021

Yangon – Thousands of government staff across Myanmar have joined the civil disobedience movement against Monday’s military coup.

To resist the coup, hundreds of doctors and nurses from the government hospitals launched a civil disobedience movement on Wednesday, calling for the release of those arrested since the coup.

The movement has called for parliament to convene with the parliamentarians democratically elected in the Nov. 8 general election.

Government staff have stopped working and others are taking part in a red-ribbon campaign to show their defiance against the coup while continuing to work.

Yangon University of Education staff join the civil disobedience movement on Friday. / Htet Wai / The Irrawaddy

On Friday morning, thousands of government staff, doctors, nurses, students, professors and teachers at 91 government hospitals, 18 universities and colleges and 12 government departments in 79 townships across the country were on strike, according to the Civil Disobedience Movement Facebook page.

Many university students in major cities said they will not attend classes under the military government.

On Friday morning, more than 300 teachers, including senior Yangon University staff, joined the protest, according to Dr. Nan Nwe of the university’s psychology department.

“As we teach students to question and understand justice, we can’t accept this injustice. Our stand is not political. We only stand up for the justice,” Dr. Nan Nwe told The Irrawaddy on Friday.

Staff from Dagon University in Yangon join the disobedience movement against the coup on Friday. / Hein Htet / The Irrawaddy

More than 200 Yangon University of Education staff, including departmental heads, have joined the civil disobedience movement.

“I feel resentful and insulted by the coup,” Daw Khin Htet Htet Thar, a tutor at the university, told The Irrawaddy. “I can’t serve under a military dictatorship. We will go back to work when our elected government returns.”

One of the protesters, Dr. Lynn Letyar, a surgeon at the 500-bed Lashio General Hospital in northern Shan State, told The Irrawaddy that he was heartened to see how many people had joined the movement.

“We want people from more sectors to join us. I am inviting everyone to take part,” the medic said.

He said 38 out of 40 doctors and 50 out of 70 nurses from the hospital have been on strike since Feb. 3.

Peaceful protests have seen citizens clapping, honking car horns and banging pots and pans at 8pm every night across the country with the movement gaining momentum.

Yangon’s pot banging protests. / Hein Htet / The Irrawaddy

Hundreds of civil servants from the Transport, Electricity and Energy, Labor, Immigration and Population and Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement ministries also joined the campaign on Friday in Naypyitaw.

Myanmar’s military sued President U Win Myint and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under the Export and Import Law and the Natural Disaster Management Law respectively on Wednesday.

The detained state counselor appears to have called on the public to oppose the military coup through her “Chair NLD” Facebook page hours after she was arrested.

The National League for Democracy on Friday issued a statement saying it appreciated the peaceful protests.

The military announced on Feb. 2 that sick people can visit military hospitals for treatment.

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