Myanmar – To protest the military coup that ousted elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, staff at 70 hospitals and medical departments in 30 towns across Myanmar has stopped working on Wednesday , said the newly formed Myanmar Civil Disobedience Movement.
“We refuse to obey any order from the illegitimate military regime who demonstrated they do not have any regards for our poor patients,” said a statement from the protest group.
Student and youth groups have also joined the civil disobedience campaign.
A statement from the group said the army had put its own interests above a vulnerable population facing hardships during the coronavirus pandemic. The virus has killed more than 3,100 people in Myanmar, one of the highest tolls in Southeast Asia.
The army seized power on Monday, after alleging fraud in the general elections held in November, after it led to a landslide victory for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD)
Consolditating its hold, the junta unveiled a new governing council including eight generals and headed by army chief General Min Aung Hlaing. It resembled the ruling appartus under previous juntas that had ruled Myanmar for nearly half a century until 2011.
Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi, 75, remains in detention despite international calls for her immediate release. An NLD official said he had learned she was under house arrest in the capital Naypyidaw and was in good health.
In the biggest public protest against the coup so far, people in the commercial hub of Yangon chanted “evil be gone” and banged on metal pots late on Tuesday in a traditional gesture to drive away evil or bad karma.
Suu Kyi endured about 15 years of house arrest between 1989 and 2010 as she led the country’s democracy movement.
The military had ruled from 1962 until her party came to power in 2015 under a constitution that guarantees the generals a major role in government.
The latest coup has dampened hopes that the impoverished country of 54 million people was on the path to stable democracy.
At the United Nations, the world body’s Myanmar envoy Christine Schraner Burgener urged the Security Council to “collectively send a clear signal in support of democracy in Myanmar”.
US President Joe Biden has threatened to reimpose sanctions on the generals who seized power. US Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tried but was unable to connect to Myanmar’s military following the coup.
The council is negotiating a possible statement that would condemn the coup, call for the military to respect the rule of law and human rights, and immediately release those unlawfully detained, diplomats said. Consensus is needed in the 15-member council for such statements.
But a diplomat with China’s UN mission said it would be difficult to reach consensus on the draft statement and that any action should avoid “escalating the tension or further complicating the situation.”
The International Monetary Fund which had given $350 million to the Myanmar government days before the coup, as part of a no-strings-attached emergency aid package to help the country battle the coronavirus pandemic, said it had little hope of recovering.