26 February, 2021Twenty union leaders, the majority from IndustriALL affiliate IWFM, including the vice president, are on the military’s wanted list after peacefully protesting for their democratic rights.
Earlier this week, hundreds of thousands of people participated in peaceful mass demonstrations across Myanmar. As the peaceful civil disobedience movement continues to protest against the military takeover in Myanmar, authorities are cracking down on unions and their leaders.
Police have issued arrest warrants for 20 union leaders, the majority from the Industrial Workers Federation of Myanmar (IWFM), including the union vice president, Soe Lay.
According to reports from the union, plain clothes police are trying to find the union leaders who participated in the nationwide strike on Monday.
IWFM president Khang Zar says in a statement:
“IWFM has worked relentlessly to protect the rights and improve the lives of garment workers and their families since we were allowed back into the country after the previous dictatorship, back in 2012.
“Together, Myanmar’s people and the international community can bring back democracy. Through civil disobedience, protest and strikes, the people of Myanmar are speaking up clearly and loudly. We need the international community to do the same. We need you to stand by our side to make this coup collapse.”
To date, more than 100 elected parliamentarians and chief ministers, including Aung San Suu Kyi, have been arrested by the military.
“Unions play an important role in the fight to return democracy to Myanmar. We give our unequivocal solidarity support to our affiliates in the country and call for a return to the civilian-led government elected by the people,”
says Valter Sanches, IndustriALL general secretary.