Myanmar’s military government has charged more than 100 medical staff because they refused to return to government hospitals to protest the military’s campaign to crack down on violence against dissidents during the coup. February 1, country sources told RFA.
By participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), the authorities charged health care professionals, including experienced doctors and specialists, of violating Section 505 (A) of the criminal code. of Myanmar on charges of spreading dissent against the military.
Tens of thousands of physicians nationwide are participating in CDM nationwide, many of whom are still taking care of people through unofficial channels.
“As doctors, we want to treat patients. We have spent many years learning to be doctors, ”a doctor facing allegations of joining the CDM told RFA’s Myanmar Service.
“The military’s arrest of the doctors keeps us from working. What happened was unacceptable from any point of view, whether it was from a medical or human rights standpoint, ”she said.
The doctor asked to remain anonymous for security reasons, working at a 500-bed hospital in the city of Sittwe, the western United States. She is currently in hiding to avoid arrest and has been giving medical advice over the phone since refusing to work in a government-run facility.
Tay Za San, a medical doctor and protest leader in Myanmar’s second largest city, Mandalay, told RFA that the doctor’s refusal to work was a way to cure the nation itself.
“We don’t sit at home. Doctors and other health workers are participating in anti-military movements and helping people in need of medical treatment from wherever we can, ”said Tay Za San.
“They even joined protesters on the ground and picked up the bodies of people who killed an injured person. We don’t just sit at home and relax, ”he said.
Myanmar has about 30,000 doctors, about 20,000 of them working in government hospitals. Of those, an estimated 75 percent were members of the CDM movement.
Authorities arrested more than 30 doctors for CDM involvement. Army killed 4 medical personnel including a medical student.
A doctor from Yangon’s largest city told RFA on condition of anonymity that the military’s security forces opened fire on hospitals and threatened medical staff with weapons.
“We are forced to write false statements. For example, there was a protester riding a motorbike who was shot dead by them, we were forced to write a death certificate stating that he had a motorcycle accident, “said the doctor.
“For a man with a broken rib from the brutal beatings, we are forced to write a report that he broke his ribs from falling from a ladder,” said the doctor.
Among the 100 people with the arrest warrant were doctors from a 1,000-bed hospital in the Naypyidaw capital town of Zabuthiri, who gave medical treatment to the first protesters shot by security forces after the coup, Mya. Thwe Thwe Khaing.
Police shot her in the head on February 19 when she participated in the protest. She died in the hospital afterwards. Although authorities said about the incident that they only fired rubber bullets, medical staff at the hospital said her injury was caused by real bullets.
Some medical staff face penalties for refusing treatment for patients loyal to the military. A pediatrician requesting anonymity told RFA that authorities arrested him for refusing to treat the child.
Another doctor from Mandalay told RFA that the military is incorrectly reporting that hospitals are reopening.
“Hospitals have yet to reopen. The military just says they do, but they don’t. No doctors showed up and no patients were seen, ”said Dr. Mandalay.
But in many parts of the country, some of the medical staff have returned to work.
Yangon General has resumed operations according to sources close to the hospital, but Mandalay General has yet to reopen. The State Administration Council (SAC) has threatened to suspend the permits of doctors found to be treated in private hospitals.
A Yangon resident told RFA that the shortage of doctors in government hospitals has caused the value of treatment in private hospitals to soar.
“They said the people could go to the military hospital, but no one did. Only military supporters go there. People go to private hospitals, but those who do not have enough money to take medicine at home ”, said this person.
A doctor in Mandalay, unnamed, said military hospitals provide subordinate treatments.
“The qualifications of doctors in military hospitals are not as good as those in public hospitals. The people don’t want to go to the military hospital, ”he said.
Another doctor in Yangon said there aren’t even enough medical staff in hospitals to make sure some vaccines are stored properly.
“The measles and polio vaccinations have both stopped and we don’t know when they will be restarted. The military has also confiscated all COVID-19 vaccines, and no one can tell if they are still effective. One could say that the health system completely went down, ”said Dr. Yangon.
Despite threats and pressure from the military, CDM-related medical personnel have stated that they will not return to work until a popularly elected civilian government returns to power. .
At least one person was killed and several others injured across the country between Sunday night and Monday morning.
In the Mandalay region, security forces shot and killed 20-year-old girl Thein Min Soe in Myingyan City.
Sources told RFA that hospital officials contacted a local relief team to recover Thein Min Soe’s body, saying he had been shot by the military. The RFA was unable to independently confirm how he was shot dead.
An unnamed man told RFA that he witnessed some of the violence of the day in Myingyan.
“Two others were injured this morning. We were able to rescue one person but had no chance to marry the other, so I don’t know his condition, ”the person said.
“Every corner has police, soldiers, no one dares to leave the house. The situation is very bad. In ward 6, they are ransacking each house, ”he said.
Residents said the army and police injured two others when they opened fire on several young men trying to rebuild barriers that were lifted by the army and police during the night.
As of Monday afternoon, security forces are lifting barriers at Myingyan’s Wards 3 and 4.
“Soldiers and police opened fire at random. They also burned down a house and four motorbikes parked there, “a resident who witnessed the barrier removal told RFA.
Security forces injured two more men on Sunday night as they cleared the barricades. Two others were injured on Monday, bringing the total to six people injured by shooting in the 24-hour period.
One of the injured was taken to Mandalay City at 11 a.m. on Sunday and the rest are being treated in Myingyan, a local resident said.
The military and police have also raided security cameras installed in some homes. Since the coup began on February 1, at least 23 Myingyan residents have been killed during the protests.
Meanwhile, the Ward Administration Office on Khine Shwewah Road in Ward 10 (South) of Thaketa Town, Yangon, caught fire at around 1pm Monday. The fire was extinguished by the locals and it did not spread to neighboring houses. Its cause is currently unknown.
In Yangon’s Insein town on Monday, security forces arrested 14 young people.
A witness told RFA, “We were resting after the demonstration when military vehicles and police from both ends of the road came and arrested them. There must have been about 40 people. I did not see much violence but 14 people were arrested. “
The sources said that as of Monday night, the young man arrested was still at the Insein police station.
Police in Mandalay arrested 10 young people after crashing into their motorbikes in an unmarked car. Among the 10 were students from the All-Burmese Student Union Federation (ABFSU).
The arrest occurred around 8 p.m. on Monday after a smooth protest march earlier in the day involving 400 people.
In Mohnyin, Bang Kachin, two young men were arrested around 9:30 a.m. on Monday for opposing a military council.
“The authorities were there in civilian clothing when we started the protests. One of the leading girls was arrested in the chaos and we don’t know where she is being held, ”said a protest leader Mohnyin.
RFA was able to confirm their identities as Myat Noe Wai, a senior math major at Myitkyina University, and rally leader Kyaw Myint Tun.
Since the February 1 coup, three residents of Mohnyin have been killed and 60 have been arrested.
Arrest orders were issued against 12 students from the Mohnyin University Student Association and the Mohnyin University of Technology Students Association, two protest leaders and a freelance journalist. All were charged under Section 505 (a) for defamation of the military.
In Mogok, Mandalay, on Sunday, police arrested Sai Wunna, a member of the Ta’ang Cultural and Cultural Association, at around 10 pm involved in anti-military protests, people giving know.
On Monday morning, security forces searched for Aung Chan Thar U Byar Lay Ward Administrator who joined the CDM. They arrested his daughter Mary Oo when they couldn’t find him.
Residents also reported that Aung Thein, an elder in the town, and his son, Joshua, were also arrested. Two people were killed and seven others were injured in the riot in Mogok on Saturday, April 17.
The Association for Supporting Political Prisoners (AAPP), a Myanmar NGO based in Thailand, said as of Monday, 738 people had been killed and 3,261 in the custody of the military regime.
Report of RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translation by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Eugene Whong.