Myanmar leader urges civil servants to return to work

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Myanmar Commander in Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing salutes as he attends an event marking the anniversary of Martyrs' Day at the Martyrs' Mausoleum in Yangon July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

(Reuters) - Myanmar’s junta leader on Thursday urged government employees to return to work after absences that he blamed on harassment by “unscrupulous persons”, in his first public remarks on the protests against him and a growing civil disobedience campaign.

In a statement issued by the ruling military’s official information service, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who led last week’s coup against Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government, urged people to avoid gatherings, which he said would fuel the spread of the coronavirus.

Reporting by Reuters Staff; Writing by Martin Petty