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2,000 Myanmar soldiers, police join anti-junta movement

  • Published at 06:11 pm August 23rd, 2021
Myanmar politics army soldier protest
File photo: A soldier uses a mobile phone as he sit inside a military vehicle outside Myanmar's Central Bank during a protest against the military coup, in Yangon, Myanmar, February 15, 2021 Reuters

Most of the striking soldiers and police have either fled to areas controlled by ethnic rebel’s or are hiding among civilians and doing what they can to fight the regime

More than 2,000 soldiers and police in Myanmar have joined the movement against the military rule since the February 1 coup.

According to People’s Embrace, a group helping security forces personnel who are refusing to work for the regime, privates and sergeants make up the majority of those who have joined the movement. Officers ranking from lieutenants to majors account for around 100, The Irrawaddy reports.

The movement, officially The Civil Disobedience Movement, was launched by The Yangon Youth Network activist group on February 2, a day after the military takeover. Since then, thousands of civil servants joined a mass walkout in an effort to deny the junta legitimacy, manpower and resources. 

“There are around 1,500 military personnel who have joined the movement. There are over 2,000 including police,” Captain Lin Htet Aung of People’s Embrace told The Irrawaddy.

People’s Embrace, which was formed by military personnel who have joined the movement, aids striking soldiers, as well as trying to persuade other military personnel to leave their barracks.

According to Captain Lin Htet, a former company commander, the statistic is based on the number of persons who have contacted People's Embrace and those who have escaped to ethnic armed organizations-controlled areas, as well as data provided by regime sources.

Most of the striking soldiers and police have either fled to areas controlled by ethnic rebel’s or are hiding among civilians and doing what they can to fight the regime.

“Some of these former military personnel are providing military training to civilian resistance fighters. Some are fighting themselves. Some share information [with resistance fighters] if they can do nothing else due to security concerns,” Captain Htet said. 

Several troops joined the movement in the third week of August, with more expected to join as the regime continues to intensify its violent crackdown against the people, The Irrawaddy reports citing some striking military officers.

People’s Embrace has so far certified hundreds of military personnel to join the movement in the past weeks in collaboration with the parallel National Unity Government and is in the process of certifying hundreds more.