After seventy years of practically constant fighting, the Myanmar army is supposed to be in absolute control of the soldiers’ and officers’ unwavering discipline. Realistic commentators think they will shoot without hesitation whenever they are ordered to. One report end of February said that some soldiers were seen with the three fingers up sign of the anti-coup demonstrators.
With Aung San Suu Kyi in prison and facing legal prosecution, her National League of Democracy may not recover in a sort of guided democracy army style. But the big question is whether there might be cracks in the military and the police force. A first resignation could be a sign that this is not impossible.
Myanmar Now, March 1, 2021:
Police major becomes first high-ranking officer to join anti-coup resistance
A police major from the Yangon region police force announced on Sunday that he has resigned his position in a show of solidarity with anti-coup protesters.
Tin Min Tun, an acting major in the force’s Special Branch, revealed the move in a live-stream video on Facebook.
“I don’t want to continue serving under the current military regime. That’s why I have joined the CDM to show that I stand with other government employees,” he said in the video, referring to the civil disobedience movement against the February 1 coup.
He said he had been with the Special Branch—the intelligence wing of the police, which serves mainly to monitor activists and politicians—since 1989 but submitted his letter of resignation on Friday in protest over the return to military rule, which he said would destroy the country’s future.
“If this military regime holds onto power, we won’t achieve what we want in the next 20 or 25 years. We will just lose again,” he said.
As the highest-ranking officer to take part in the anti-coup movement so far, he noted that police who break ranks to join protesters face up to three years in prison under the Myanmar Police Force Maintenance of Discipline Law.
“I also want to tell my fellow officers to do what you believe is right,” he added.
Earlier in the month, police in various parts of the country joined protesters calling for the restoration of the elected civilian government, raising hopes of mass defections by the “people’s police”.
More recently, however, police have been implicated in an increasingly brutal crackdown on protesters that has killed dozens of unarmed civilians, including at least 18 on Sunday.
In the video, Tin Min Tun addressed the deteriorating image of the police force in the face of its role in helping the junta hold onto power against the will of the people.
Speaking to his fellow officers, he said they should consider how they will face future generations, adding that many members of the force are already experiencing “discrimination” from the public for doing the regime’s bidding.
Regarding his own future, he said he would leave that to fate.
“If they decide to send me to jail, so be it. This is my sacrifice for my family and my country,” he said.
“I also want to tell my children and other family members to stay calm. I didn’t discuss this with them. I did it because I couldn’t control my feelings any longer,” he added.
CDM was started by doctors and other healthcare workers in the week after the coup in an effort to hobble the regime’s ability to take control over government functions.
It has since been joined by civil servants from a number of ministries, as well as bank employees.
An official from the Yangon Region Police Department contacted by Myanmar Now has confirmed that a senior Special Branch officer had joined the CDM.
“He is a hero. We have great respect for his decision,” said the officer, who asked to remain anonymous.
He added that he would like to follow suit, but is reluctant to do so because it would not only result in a prison sentence for him, but would also have negative consequences for his immediate family.