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World|politics|February 15, 2021 / 12:01 PM
Myanmar 'people's uprising' grows as police and civil servants join protest against military rule

AKIPRESS.COM - Tens of thousands of protesters gathered across Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, for the sixth consecutive day on February 11 as mass demonstrations against the military junta gained momentum across the country, Arab News reported.

Civil servants and police officers have been seen joining the anti-junta rallies triggered by a coup that toppled the country’s civilian leadership earlier this month. The number of civil servants participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement continues to rise as employees from the General Administration Department in Yangon’s Shwe Pyi Thar township joined the movement on Wednesday.

A video showing 49 policemen joining protesters in Loikaw, Kaya state, appeared on social media on February 10. Footage showed demonstrators protecting the police officers from arrest. Two days earlier, the first police officer to extend support and join the civil disobedience movement, Superintendent. Khun Aung Ko Ko, told a crowd in the capital, Naypyitaw, that he had sold his car to support other civil servants who risked their livelihoods by joining the strike.

The civil disobedience movement, initiated by health workers, has gained nationwide support, with staff in various ministries disrupting the government’s administrative mechanisms.

“It is going to be a people’s uprising,” Wai Yan Phyo Moe, All Burma Federation of Student Unions vice president, told Arab News on Wednesday as protesters returned to the streets despite a violent crackdown a day earlier. He said that a nationwide strike originally planned for Friday was already underway.

“The protests are growing day by day. Even religious people such as Buddhist monks and nuns, and Christian preachers, are taking to streets.” Most businesses in Yangon and other cities are unable to operate due to public transport disruptions, while workers at government-run gas stations are refusing to work.

Banks have shuttered across the country. The central bank and state-owned Myanmar Economic Bank (MEB) also face daily protests. Bank branches across Myanmar are unable to process government employees’ salaries.

The demonstrations are supported by labor groups, with union leaders vowing to protest until civilian rule is restored. “Our message to the military junta is clear. We don’t want you. We just want civilian rule,” Pyo Sandar Aung, assistant general secretary of the Confederation of Trade Unions in Myanmar, told Arab News.

The country’s biggest trade union has more than 10,000 member factories, and all are protesting against the coup. “Some take to the streets, while some protest in their workplace. It is up to them,” Aung said.

Myanmar’s military took over control of government in a coup in the first week of February and detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Win Myint and other NLD members.

Earlier, medical workers from Mandalay participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement(CDM) on February 3. From then on, many government staff joined the movement to support the National League for Democracy (NLD) government and fight against the military takeover. Many hospitals including those in Yangon, Mandalay, Pathein, Muse, Sagaing are not receiving new patients anymore.

Many cities and townships have been placed under an 8 pm to 4 am curfew since February 8. However, the curfew has failed to deter the people from participating in protest marches across the country calling for the release of detainees.

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