Myanmar junta files charges against doctors for joining protests


Myanmar’s ruling military junta filed charges against 19 medical doctors on Wednesday for supporting and participating in the civil disobedience movement, a state-run newspaper reported.

According to the military-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper, the doctors are charged for protesting against the February 01 coup “with the aim of deteriorating the state administrative machinery”.

Doctors, nurses and medical students have in recent weeks, marched and joined strikes to show their opposition to the military takeover that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government.

The coup has effectively put a halt to the progress Myanmar had made toward greater democratisation after five decades of military rule.

Earlier in this month, doctors in Mandalay, the country’s second-biggest city, has been targeted by security forces who used stun grenades and fired guns to break up their march for protesting the army’s takeover.

Online news site the Irrawaddy reported that four doctors were arrested.

The military government has already issued arrest warrants for 100 people active in the fields of literature, film, theatre arts, music and journalism on charges of spreading information that undermines the stability of the country and the rule of law.

Protests continued on Wednesday across Myanmar even as people boycotted the official celebration of Thingyan, the country’s traditional New Year, usually a time for family reunions and merry-making.

In leaflets and social media posts last week, people were asked not to hold any Thingyan celebrations, saying it would be disrespectful to “fallen martyrs” to enjoy the festival.

The government’s violent response to anti-coup demonstrations has seen 714 people killed by security officials, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Last week, at least 82 people were killed in one day in a crackdown by security forces on protesters, according to reports from independent local media and AAPP.

Friday’s death toll in Bago was the biggest one-day total for a single city since March 14, when just over 100 people were killed in Yangon, the country’s biggest city.

Bago is about 90km northeast of Yangon. The Associated Press was unable to independently verify the number of deaths. (Source: CNA)