The move has met with resistance at a number of locations, resulting in several protesters being injured by rubber bullets
Military troops were being deployed to hospitals and other public building in cities and towns around Myanmar on Sunday, in the latest move by the ruling junta to consolidate control in the face on ongoing popular resistance.
Troops have been seen occupying hospitals, university campuses, and temple compounds in Yangon, Ayeyarwady, Bago, Tanintharyi, Mandalay and Sagaing regions and Mon, Kayah, Kachin and Rakhine states.
In some areas, there were reports of public protests against the move, which comes after a week of deadly crackdowns that left dozens of protesters dead around the country.
In Yangon, soldiers have occupied the city’s largest hospital, Yangon General Hospital, as well as Gandhi Hospital and Waibargi Specialist Hospital, medical workers said.
Hospital officials were said to be in negotiations with military officers following public demands for the withdrawal of the troops by 7pm Sunday. However, it was unclear at the time of writing if this demand had been met.
In Mandalay, witnesses reported that security forces were being deployed at Mandalay General Hospital, Yadanarbon University, Mandalay Central railway station, and other major public facilities, including government offices and the local power authority.
Military personnel were also sighted at the famous Mahamuni Buddha Temple, one of Myanmar’s most popular Buddhist pilgrimage sites, according to local residents.
Attempts to prevent four military vehicles from entering Mandalay Technological University with troops were repelled with tear gas and rubber bullets, leaving several people injured, witnesses said.
One of the injured, 35-year-old security guard Kyaw Thu, had to be treated for injuries to his face and another was hit by a rubber bullet in the thigh.
“Two teachers were also beaten. Now the soldiers are stationed inside the university. They were still firing shots when we had to leave the scene,” Kyaw Thu told Myanmar Now.
In nearby Monywa, where multiple killings were reported in a protest crackdown on Friday, police and soldiers from the 33rd infantry division have occupied Monywa University and the Monywa University of Economics.
In the Mon state town of Ye, security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets at locals protesting against the deployment of troops at the the township hospital. At least two people were injured.
“It is just about a dozen soldiers. They said they were stationed at the hospital under orders from their superiors. They said they didn’t want to clash with local people, but would shoot if anybody created trouble for them,” a local resident said.
In southern Rakhine state’s Gwa township, local media reported that the superintendent of the township’s main public hospital had successfully prevented soldiers from occupying the hospital compound.
There were also reports of protests by students in the capital of Kayah state against the deployment of troops at the Loikaw Computer University.
Meanwhile, a police source in Yangon told Myanmar Now that about 1,500 police officials had joined the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) against last month’s coup.
The source said that the takeover of public buildings appeared to be aimed at countering the effects of the CDM by civil servants, which has largely crippled the country’s public sector.
“The military is in a desperate situation trying to control the country,” the source said, noting that in addition to infantry troops, many of those being deployed belonged to navy, air force, medical and engineering units.