Protests accuse doctors of ‘bloody strike’ in Myanmar Myanmar News

Myanmar’s leaders and activists have painted the streets and buildings red to represent the blood of hundreds of people killed during the army’s February 1 coup.

On Wednesday, the second day of the New Year’s Eve holiday, a military-run newspaper reported that at least 19 doctors had been charged with participating in a civil disobedience protest.

Myanmar has maintained chaos since the military coup, waging a series of protests and uprisings, including workers’ strikes in various sectors. Activists canceled the normal celebration by announcing various shows denying each day centering on the five-day New Year celebrations.

On Wednesday, people from various cities and towns across the country joined in what they called a “bloody strike” by activists.

In the main city of Yangon, protesters spray-painted sidewalks and signs outside government offices in red and placed a note in a suburb: “Dear UN, how are you? I hope you are well. In the case of Myanmar, we are dying.”

A participant in the protest told the AFP news agency that the purpose of the action was to “remember the martyrs who died in the struggle for democracy”.

At least 1,414 people have died since the overthrow of senior General Min Aung Hlaing Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, according to an association group for political prisoners.

The Yangon protesters said, “We should not be happy during this festival. “We must feel sorry for the bloodthirsty martyrs and continue to fight as best we can.”

A typical scene in Yangon on April 14, 2021 is the Thingian, a water festival that shows the country’s second day of empty streets on New Year’s Eve. [Ye Aung Thu/ AFP]
The handout, taken and published by Kawkarik Open News on April 14, 2021, shows protesters taking part in a general strike against the military coup in Kawkarik, in the state of Karen in eastern Myanmar. [Handout/ Kawkareik Open News via AFP]

In Mandalay, the second-largest city, red was also seen on the streets as protesters chanted “our military dictatorship will fail”, “overthrow the era of fear” and “blood has not dried on the streets.”

In some cities, people marched with placards calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been detained since the coup on various charges, including a breach of a government privacy law. His lawyers have denied the allegations against him.

There were no immediate reports of violence in any of the protests on Wednesday, but the Manuea Gazette reported that one person had been injured after receiving reports of two explosions in the central city of Manoya.

There was no demand for accountability.

Physicians on examination

Meanwhile, the military has added 2 dozen more celebrities, doctors and civilians to its arrest warrants and filed charges against 19 state medical doctors for supporting and participating in a civil disobedience movement aimed at “destroying state administrative machinery”. Near the military-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

The Irrawaddy newspaper said the doctors were from Naipidao, Yangon, Mandalay, Sagaing and Taninthari regions, and government hospitals in Shan and Kachin states. If convicted, they could face up to three years in prison.

The United States and other Western nations have strongly condemned the military crackdown and called for restraint, citing restrictions on Myanmar’s armed forces and their wider business interests.

This handout, taken and published by Daui Watch in April 2021, shows protesters carrying pots full of flowers and leaves at the Thingan festival during a protest against Daui’s military coup. [Dawei Watch/ AFP]

Southeast Asian neighbors are also encouraging dialogue between the Myanmar side but without progress.

The US ambassador to Myanmar, Thomas Bajda, said in a New Year’s message that he was aware that in these “extremely difficult times” many people were sacrificing and suffering for their faith and conviction.

“I am deeply impressed with your courage and your commitment,” Bajda said. “Let me also reaffirm the commitment of my colleagues and I … do my best to support the people of Myanmar in your desire for true democracy, peace and freedom.”

Meanwhile, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Tuesday that it feared that military crackdowns on protesters would escalate into a civil war in Syria.

“I am concerned that the situation in Myanmar is heading towards a full-blown conflict,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement.

“Syria has a clear echo in 2011,” he warned, adding that millions had been killed over the past decade and that millions had been forced to flee the Middle East.

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