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Myanmar doctor - remote villager to revolutionary

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The people of Myanmar have been living under a coup by the country’s military since the beginning of February, but a resistance to the army’s rule has been gathering pace -- and one man has become a face of that resistance.

Dr Sasa was in the capital Naypyitaw on the night troops took power, expecting to take a job in Aung San Suu Kyi’s cabinet, after running a successful election campaign for her party in his native Chin state.

Her arrest and the junta that’s followed has thrust the doctor turned politician into the limelight, as a leader of the so-called "Spring Revolution."

Sasa spoke to Reuters from an undisclosed location, after having to flee his country in disguise. He says the military has "declared the war on the people of Myanmar.”

"I was told to escape as soon as possible because militaries were everywhere, you know. They started to do harm particularly like myself, I was still in a way very young, energetic, I don't want to be captured like a rat and put in a box."

Born in the mountainous and remote region of Chin, near the border with India, Sasa does not know when he was born or even his exact age — since records were hardly kept. He thinks he's about 40. He was also the first of his village to go to secondary school.

He came from a persecuted Christian minority, and says soldiers raped women in his family. He worked his way up to become a doctor after working construction jobs in India, then studying in Armenia.

Sasa is now the international envoy for the civilian government, who convened a virtual parliament in the chaotic days after the coup and quickly amassed millions of followers on social media.

“Theyhave just taken away our future from us, you know we want to be free, we want to be thriving, we want to be innovative, but all that has been gone and taken, brought down by guns that is bought by tax payers money."

He added he has no regrets about risking his life in pursuit of democracy.

Reuters is unable to verify the numbers, but independent estimates say security forces have arrested over 2,000 people and more than 200 have been killed.

A spokesman for Myanmar’s junta did not answer calls seeking comment.

Video Transcript

- The people of Myanmar have been living under a coup by the country's military since the beginning of February. But a resistance to the army's rule has been gathering pace. And one man has become a face of that resistance.

Dr. Sasa was in the capital of Naypyitaw on the night the troops took power, expecting to take a job in Aung San Suu Kyi's cabinet after running a successful election campaign for her party in his native Chin state. Her arrest and the junta that followed has thrust the doctor turned politician into the limelight as a leader of the so-called Spring Revolution. Sasa spoke to Reuters from an undisclosed location, having had to flee his country in disguise. He says the military has, quote, "declared the war on the people of Myanmar."

- I was told to escape as soon as possible because militaries were everywhere. They started to do harm. And particularly like myself, I'm still very-- I mean, in a way very young, energetic. And I don't want to be captured like a rat and put in a box.

- Born in the mountainous and remote region of Chin near the border with India, Sasa does not know when he was born or even his exact age, since records were hardly kept. He thinks he's about 40. He was also the first of his village to go to secondary school. He came from a persecuted Christian minority and says soldiers raped women in his family. He worked his way up to become a doctor after working construction jobs in India and studying in Armenia.

- They are not going to go back home.

- Sasa is now the international envoy for the civilian government, who convened a virtual parliament in the chaotic days after the coup and quickly amassed millions of followers on social media.

- They have just taken away our future from us. We want to be free. We want to be thriving. We want to be innovative. But all that has been gone and taken, brought down by guns. That is bought by taxpayers' money.

- He added he has no regrets about risking his life in pursuit of democracy. Reuters is unable to verify the numbers, but independent estimates say security forces have arrested over 2,000 people more than 200 have been killed. A spokesman for Myanmar's junta did not answer calls seeking comment.