Anger at military rises in Myanmar; health workers to strike against coup


Residents in Myanmar’s capital city Yangon have expressed their resistance to the military coup on Monday by banging pots and pans, and honking car horns to call for civil disobedience.

Most visible pushback is from health workers in several major cities who are planning to stage strikes. Some medics wore symbols of silent protest by pinning black ribbons on their scrubs and lab coats and posting photos on social media.

Doctors working in government hospitals announced they would stop working from Wednesday to push for the release of their elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

At least one doctor has quit in protest, saying “such coups cannot be tolerated at all”.

Dr. Naing Htoo Aung, a 47-year-old anaesthesiologist at Mongywa Hospital in Sagaing Region, told BBC Burmese: “I resigned because I couldn’t work under a military dictator who did not care about the country and the people. This is the best response I can give to them.”

Another doctor involved in the campaign, Myo Thet Oo, told Reuters news agency: “We cannot accept dictators and an unelected government.

“They can arrest us anytime. We have decided to face it… All of us have decided not to go to the hospital.”

While activists are calling for a campaign of civil disobedience and called for the release of Ms Suu Kyi, correspondents say the military appears firmly in control.

The military took power in the early hours of Monday and declared a year-long state of emergency after accusing Ms. Suu Kyi’s party of fraud over its recent election win.

Her National League for Democracy (NLD) has demanded her immediate release. It also called upon the military to accept the results of the November election, which saw the NLD win more than 80% of the votes.

However, the military has appointed a new election commission and chief of police. The previous commission found no evidence of election fraud.

Ms. Suu Kyi has not been seen since her detention on Monday, while over 100 lawmakers had been confined by the military in their accommodation in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw. The lawmakers have now been told they can leave.

Communications systems disrupted by the coup returned by Tuesday morning, but as night fell, car horns and the banging of cooking pots could be heard in the streets of Yangon in a sign of protest.

Youth and student groups also called for civil disobedience campaigns, and a Facebook page for the campaign gained over 100,000 likes.

There have been no official statements on Ms. Suu Kyi’s exact whereabouts, but unnamed sources from within the NLD have said both she and President Win Myint were being held under house arrest.

Ms. Suu Kyi – who spent nearly 15 years in detention between 1989 and 2010 – has urged her supporters to “protest against the coup” in a letter written before she was detained. It warned the military’s actions would put the country back under a dictatorship. (Source: BBC)