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Myanmar military occupies hospitals, other buildings amid protests

Riot police are seen on February 28 during a protest in Mandalay, Myanmar, opposing the military's takeover of the government. Photo by Xiao Long/UPI
Riot police are seen on February 28 during a protest in Mandalay, Myanmar, opposing the military's takeover of the government. Photo by Xiao Long/UPI | License Photo

March 8 (UPI) -- Soldiers in Myanmar are now occupying hospitals, universities and temple compounds nationwide as the military junta consolidates control of the country in the face of public opposition to the Feb. 1 coup.

The crackdown of such buildings began over the weekend following weeks of mass protests against the military takeover that removed leader Aung San Suu Kyi from power.

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Troops have occupied public places in many cities, including Yangon and Mandalay. Among the medical facilities now under military control are Yangon General Hospital and Gandhi Hospital.

The junta's continued takeover was denounced by human rights groups.

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"[We are] appalled by this latest wave of violence by the Myanmar military, including the invasion and occupation of public hospitals and wanton excessive force against civilians," nonprofit Physicians for Human Rights said in a statement.

"If it was not obvious before, it is absolutely clear now: the Myanmar military will not stop violating the rights of the people of Myanmar until the international community acts decisively to prevent and account for these outrageous acts."

The United Nations Human Rights Office on Monday called for a peaceful resolution.

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"We are deeply concerned about the fate of some 200 peaceful protesters, including women, who have been cordoned by security forces in Yangon, and may be at risk of arrest or ill treatment," the Human Rights Office tweeted.

"We urge the police to immediately allow them to leave safely and without reprisals."

Myanmar labor unions called for a national strike on Monday as a number of organizations pushed for a shutdown of the economy.

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