Myanmar police have occupied hospitals and universities and reportedly arrested hundreds of people involved in protests in last month’s military coup, while a coalition of unions called a nationwide strike on Monday.
Tension was high in the country’s largest city, Yangon, on Sunday evening, where gunfire could be heard in several areas after the 8 p.m. curfew. The sounds of what apparently were stun grenades could also be heard in videos posted to social media.
Some of the gunfire was heard near hospitals, where reports indicated that residents of the neighborhood were seeking to block the entrance of police and soldiers.
Security forces have previously targeted medical personnel and facilities, attacking ambulances and their crews. It is feared that the presence of police in hospitals could allow authorities to arrest injured suspected protesters.
The international group Physicians for Human Rights condemned the occupation of hospitals, saying in a statement it was “appalled by this latest wave of violence by the Burmese military, including the invasion and occupation of public hospitals and excessive and gratuitous force against civilians ”.
“If it was not obvious before, it is quite clear now that the Myanmar military will not stop violating the rights of the people of Myanmar until the international community acts decisively to prevent and account for these scandalous acts, ”he said.
The group said the forcible occupation of hospitals was a violation of international law which “only further undermines a health care system already in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent coup d’état of the United States. ‘army”.
According to the report, an eyewitness reported that armed security forces entered and sought to occupy West Yangon General Hospital by force. He said he also had reports that Yangon General Hospital, North Okkalapa Waibagi Specialist Hospital, South Okkalapa Women and Children’s Hospital, General Hospital of the east Yangon and the Central Women’s Hospital were occupied by the military.
The group said they received similar reports from Mandalay, Monywa and Taunggyi.
An alliance of influential labor unions in Myanmar called for an extended national strike from Monday, with the intention of causing a “complete and prolonged shutdown” of the country’s economy in an attempt to stop the coup military.
In a statement, nine trade union organizations called on “all the people of Myanmar” to stop work in an attempt to reverse the army’s seizure of power.
Workers from several industries joined the protest movement, including public railways and the banking sector.
Moe Sanda Myint, president of the Myanmar Garment Workers Federation, said she believed the majority of workers would join.
“We urge to continue the strike until the dictatorship is uprooted,” she said.
Andrew Tillett-Saks, Myanmar country program director for the Solidarity Center, a United States-based workers’ rights organization, said the strike “increases the likelihood that many other members of the private sector will respond to the call in the days and weeks that follow ”.
“This is a strategy that could really plausibly put pressure on the military,” he said.
Tens of thousands of people stepped out in Myanmar on Sunday on one of the biggest days of protest against the coup, despite nightly raids by security forces in Yangon against campaign leaders and activists in Yangon. ‘opposition.
In one district of Yangon alone, Shwepyitha, at least 100 students were reportedly arrested and many protesters were also reportedly detained in other towns, especially at universities.
Police fired tear gas and stun grenades in the northern town of Lashio in the Shan region, according to a live video posted to Facebook. A witness said police opened fire to disperse a protest in historic Bagan, but it was not clear whether they were using rubber bullets or live ammunition.
National League for Democracy (NLD) member Soe Win confirmed that some party officials were arrested in Saturday night’s raids, but the exact number was unknown.
At least one community leader linked to the ousted NLD government of Aung San Suu Kyi, Khin Maung Latt, 58, was killed in a raid in Pabedan County in Yangon, Tun Kyi said with the Society of former political prisoners.
“He was beaten and taken away in a raid … and it seems he suffered severe interrogation,” he told AFP, adding that his body was taken to a cemetery.
Burma Human Rights Network said two other NLD members had also died since Friday, one after being arrested for participating in a protest in northern Shan state and the other stabbed in the region of Shan. Magway by army supporters, he said.
The United Nations says security forces have killed more than 50 people since the daily protests began after the army’s overthrow and detention of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.