Myanmar military arrests doctors for participating in pro-democracy protests

Doctors arrested are accused of supporting and participating in the civil disobedience movement.

Doctors arrested are accused of supporting and participating in the civil disobedience movement. Picture: Pexels

CAPE TOWN, April 14 (ANA) – According to a state-run newspaper, Myanmar’s military junta has arrested at least 19 medical doctors in civil disobedience demonstrations against the February 1 coup d’etat, according to a state-run newspaper, Associated Press reports.

Doctors, nurses, and medical students have taken to the streets to oppose the military coup that has ousted 75-year-old leader Aung San Suu Kyi, which has set back Myanmar’s democracy.

Hundreds of doctors and nurses wearing hard hats and carrying Suu Kyi posters marched through Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-largest city and cultural centre, throughout last week.

The doctors arrested are accused of supporting and participating in the civil disobedience movement “with the aim of deteriorating the state administrative machinery”, the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper wrote.

Military spokesperson Zaw Min Tun accused government doctors of murder, claiming their strike had contributed to Covid-19 deaths.

“They are killing people in cold blood,” he said, according to The Guardian.

The military government has also released arrest warrants for 100 people working in the fields of fiction, cinema, theatre arts, music and journalism.

Politicians, elected officers, civil servants, activists, student leaders, physicians, and anti-coup demonstrators are among those detained.

Human Rights Watch said that Myanmar’s military junta should drop all charges and unconditionally free all those illegally detained.

“The Myanmar junta’s dragnet is rapidly expanding, so international pressure is urgently needed to gain the detainees’ immediate release,” said Manny Maung, Myanmar researcher, to Human Rights Watch.

People were asked not to stage any Thingyan festivities in leaflets and social media messages last week, claiming that doing so will be insulting to the festival’s “fallen martyrs”.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners Burma (AAPP), at least 326 people have been arrested since the coup, with 303 still being held, though the figure may be even higher.

The military junta’s brutal reaction to anti-coup protests has resulted in the deaths of 714 civilians, AAPP stated.

This death toll over the weekend was the highest since the violence on March 14, the day before Bago experienced the worst one-day mortality in a single district when over 100 civilians were killed in Yangon.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Naomi Mackay

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