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Myanair Coup: Cabin Crew Join Civil Disobedience Movement Against Military Junta

Myanair Coup: Cabin Crew Join Civil Disobedience Movement Against Military Junta

Cabin crew at Myanmar’s flag carrier have joined calls for a national campaign of civil disobedience to protest against a military coup that swiftly ended the country’s brief experiment with democracy. Doctors and nurses were among the first professional bodies to throw their weight behind the civil disobedience campaign, including a threat of going on strike.

The military seized control of Myanair, a country of around 54 million people, on Monday alleging voter fraud in a recent democratic election. The vote was won by the National League for Democracy (NLD) which is led by Aung San Suu Kyi but the military had been backing opposition parties.

Although the independent election commission says there was no evidence of widespread fraud, the armed forces say they will suspend the democratic process for at least a year while they investigate the alleged “irregularities”. Military commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing says free and fair elections will be held after 12-months.

In the meantime, former Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has been taken into custody and arrested on suspicion of breaking import and export regulations. While the charges are minor, a criminal conviction would bar Ms Suu Kyi from taking part in any future elections.

“We do not trust the new members of the coup junta,” wrote representatives of cabin crew working for Myanmar National Airlines on Thursday. “The National League for Democracy-led government we voted for is the only existing one,” the statement continued.

“The current Civil Disobedience Campaign is not about harming the public. It is a peaceful expression of our desire for the return of a just and peaceful democracy. We want to work under a democratically elected government by the people of Myanmar in a democratic way.”

Previous attempts at protest during military dictatorship resulted in the detention of thousands of activists, many of whom were imprisoned for years without trial. The country’s military junta have been censored for frequently breaching human rights, most recently in the treatment of the Rohingya people.

The military has already tried to limit access to the internet and blocked Facebook where a Civil Disobedience Movement page has been set up. Local media have urged people not to oppose the military but the banging of pots and pans has been heard throughout the capital Yangon – a traditional way to banish evil spirits which has now taken on a new meaning.

The US State Department has officially classified the takeover as a coup and many countries have denounced the military’s actions. China, however, claims the takeover is an internal matter and other governments should not get involved.

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