Handful of police officers join Myanmar’s uprising against military regime

A handful of police officers have joined the uprising against last week’s military coup, siding with protesters a day after the regime imposed martial law in several areas and issued a ban on gatherings of five or more people. 

A police lieutenant in Naypyitaw named Khun Aung Ko Ko sided with demonstrators and gave a speech during Tuesday’s rally there. He later gave out a printed statement calling for the “fall of dictator Min Aung Hlaing”. 

“I am aware I will be put in jail with a long prison sentence if our fight for democracy does not succeed,” he wrote. “But it’s worth fighting for over 50 million people in this country by doing what I believe in.”

“Even if I lose my dearest daughter in this fight for our next generation, it’s worth it. I will be happy to die together with my daughter. I do not want my daughter to live under the rule of dictator Min Aung Hlaing and witness his wickedness and selfishness,” he added. “My sacrifice for the people and members of the police force, to fight for democracy and the fall of dictator Min Aung Hlaing, will be worth it.”  

Photos also circulated on social media that showed four police officers in the central town of Magwe joining protests, with some wearing red ribbons, the symbol of  the civil disobedience movement. A video of police officers shaking hands with protesters before removing barriers to shouts of “People’s Police” was viewed tens of thousands of times on Twitter.

Thousands of civil servants and government employees have joined a general strike aimed at preventing the regime from functioning properly. While it’s too early to say how things will progress, a significant show of resistance from the rank and file of the military-controlled police force would likely be regarded as a serious threat by the new regime, and strategic victory for the civil disobedience movement. 

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