Myanmar activists put up ‘bloody’ demonstrations against military


Symbolising the blood of people killed while protesting against the junta, Opponents of Myanmar’s coup splashed red paint and dye on roads and signs outside government offices on Wednesday.

The display, aimed at shaming the military, took place in various towns and cities, according to pictures posted by media, as people answered a call by activists to join what they termed a “bloody paint strike.”

Some people marched with signs calling for the release of the leader of the ousted government, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

She has been detained since the February 1 coup on various charges including violating an official secrets act that could see her imprisoned for 14 years.

Her lawyers have denied the charges against her. “Please save our leader – future – hope,” read a sign with a picture of Suu Kyi held by a young woman among several thousand people marching in the second city of Mandalay, according to a picture published by the Mizzima news service.

There were no immediate reports of violence at any of the protests on Wednesday, but information has become scarce because of the junta’s curbs on broadband internet and mobile data services.

The coup has plunged Myanmar into crisis after 10 years of tentative steps toward democracy with daily protests and various campaigns of defiance including strikes by workers in many sectors that have brought the economy to a standstill.

The five-day New Year holiday, known as Thingyan, began on Tuesday but pro-democracy activists cancelled the usual festivities, which include high-spirited water throwing in the streets, to focus on their opposition to the generals who seized power.

The military says the protests are petering out. Activists have planned different shows of defiance every day over the holiday, which ends on Saturday.

An activist group, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, says the security forces have killed 710 protesters since the ouster of Suu Kyi’s government.

The United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday it feared that the military clampdown on the protests risked escalating into a civil conflict like that seen in Syria and appealed for a halt to the “slaughter”.—Reuters


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