Troops shoot medical workers


Security forces opened fire on a pro-democracy protest by medical workers in the city of Mandalay, and during more shooting in a nearby area one man was killed and several were wounded, media reported.

Opponents of a Feb 1 coup that ousted an elected government led by Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi have kept up their campaign against the military this traditional New Year week with marches and other displays of resistance.

Medical workers, some of whom have been at the forefront of the campaign against the coup, gathered in the second city of Mandalay early but troops soon arrived to disperse them, opening fire and detaining some people, the BBC’s Burmese-language service said.

The BBC and other news outlets did not have details of casualties or arrests at the protest but Khit Thit media said a man was shot and killed in the compound of a nearby mosque as security forces broke up the medics’ protest.

A resident of the neighbourhood where the mosque is located said soldiers had arrived there and started shooting, wounding one person who was later taken to hospital.

The five-day New Year holiday, known as Thingyan, began on Tuesday but pro-democracy activists cancelled the usual festivities to focus on their opposition to the generals.

Hundreds of people joined protests marches in several other towns, according to pictures posted by media outlets.

Meanwhile, the ruling junta has charged at least 19 medical doctors for participating in civil disobedience protests, a state-run newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The doctors charged 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.

The military government has already issued arrest warrants for 100 people active in the fields of literature, film, theatre arts, music and journalism on charges of spreading information that undermines the stability of the country and the rule of law.

Meanwhile, Myanmar security forces yesterday arrested one of the main leaders of the campaign against military rule, Wai Moe Naing, as he led a motorbike protest rally in the central town of Monywa, a colleague said

Monywa has been one of main centres of opposition to the military’s Feb 1 coup, which has plunged Myanmar into crisis after 10 years of tentative steps toward democracy in addition to the daily protests, strikes by workers in many sectors that have brought the economy to a standstill.

An activist group, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, says the security forces have killed around 715 protesters since the ousting of Suu Kyi’s government. — Agencies

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