Aung San Suu Kyi in good health under house arrest, says NLD, as teachers join civil disobedience

YANGON: Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi is in good health under house arrest after being detained in Monday’s military coup, her National League for Democracy (NLD) press officer said on Friday (Feb 5). 

“We have learnt that State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is in good health (in Naypyidaw),” press officer Kyi Toe said on his official Facebook page.

“As far as I know, she’s under house arrest,” he told AFP.

Aung San Suu Kyi has not been seen in public since Monday. Police have filed charges against her for illegally importing and using six walkie-talkie radios found at her home.

READ: Myanmar police file charges against ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi under import-export law

READ: UN Security Council calls for release of Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi

The NLD on Friday also threw its support behind a civil disobedience campaign and said it would help people who are arrested or sacked for opposing this week’s coup.

In a statement on an official NLD Facebook page, the party denounced the coup and Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention as “unacceptable” and said it had a duty to provide help to those penalised for opposing the military takeover.

TEACHERS JOIN PROTEST

Teachers on Friday became the latest group to join a civil disobedience campaign, with some lecturers refusing to work or cooperate with authorities in protest against the military’s seizure of power.

The civil disobedience campaign started among medical workers soon after Monday’s coup but has since spread to include students, youth groups and some workers in both the state and private sectors.

Wearing red ribbons and holding up protest signs, scores of lecturers and teachers gathered in front of campus buildings at the Yangon University of Education.

Teachers from Yangon University of Education take part in demonstration against the military coup i

Teachers from Yangon University of Education react with a three-finger salute while holding signs as they take part in demonstration against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, Feb 5, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Stringer)

“We don’t want this military coup which unlawfully seized power from our elected government,” said lecturer Nwe Thazin Hlaing.

“We are no longer going to work with them. We want the military coup to fail,” she added, surrounded by other staff who held up held up three-finger salutes, now used by many protesters in Myanmar.

READ: US conveys concern over Myanmar coup to ASEAN ambassadors

The salute – three fingers pointing up with palm away from the body – stems from the Hunger Games movies, but in recent years, it has been adopted by anti-government protesters in Asia.

One member of staff estimated that 200 of the 246 staff at the university joined the protest.

“We aim to halt the administration system. We are now holding a peaceful strike,” said another lecturer, Honey Lwin.

Teachers from Yangon University of Education take part in a demonstration against the military coup

A teacher from Yangon University of Education participating in a demonstration against the military coup looks at red ribbons in Yangon, Myanmar, Feb 5, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Stringer)

There were also reports of a similar protest at Dagon University in Yangon.

“As a citizen, I cannot accept this military coup at all,” lecturer Win Win Maw told AFP. “We have to resist this dictatorship.”

Marching around the university’s compound, students chanted “Long live Mother Suu” and carried red flags, the colour of the NLD.

“We will not let our generation suffer under this kind of military dictatorship,” said Min Sithu, a student.

Dozens of employees from several government ministries in Naypyidaw also posed for group photographs wearing red ribbons and flashing the democracy symbol.

Hours before Friday’s university protest, Win Htein, a key aide to Aung Sang Suu Kyi, was arrested at his daughter’s house, said Kyi Toe, the NLD press officer.

READ: Another senior Aung San Suu Kyi aide arrested in Myanmar

Win Htein

Win Htein, one of the leaders of National League for Democracy party, arrives at the opening ceremony of the 21st Century Panglong conference in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on May 24, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun)

The 79-year-old NLD stalwart, considered Suu Kyi’s right-hand man, has spent long stretches in detention for campaigning against military rule.

Ahead of his arrest, Win Htein told local media the military putsch was “not wise”, and called on people in the country to “oppose as much as they can”.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a Yangon-based group that monitors political arrests in Myanmar, more than 130 officials and lawmakers have been detained in relation to the coup.

Telecom providers in the country have been ordered to cut access to Facebook, the main means of communication and accessing the Internet for millions of people in Myanmar.

“HOPE BROKEN”

With Facebook stifled, more Myanmar people have moved to Twitter in recent days or started using VPN services to bypass the blockade.

A so-called Civil Disobedience Movement has gathered steam online, calling on the public to voice opposition every night by banging pots and clanging cymbals to show their anger.

People hit pots during a night protest against the military coup in Yangon

People hit pots during a night protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, Feb 4, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Stringer)

“I feel our hope is broken by the military after they seized power,” said food vendor Thazin Oo, whose mobile phone case has a photo of Suu Kyi.

So far, at least 14 activists and prominent pro-democracy figures have been arrested, according to AAPP.

The nephew of filmmaker Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi – who has previously been jailed for criticising the military – confirmed on Friday his outspoken uncle had been picked up on the morning of the coup.

“I think they arrested all dissidents who could share the right information to the public,” said Kaung Satt Naing.

People make noise during a night protest against the military coup in Yangon

People make noise during a night protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, Feb 4, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Stringer)

Police in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city, detained more than 20 people for banging pots and pans. They were sentenced on Friday to seven days in prison for violating a public disorder law.

Another four university students from Mandalay, arrested at a small rally were charged on Friday for protesting without permission and breaking coronavirus rules.

As they were escorted out of court in chains, they flashed a defiant three-finger salute to the waiting media.

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