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To replace the New Year festivities, Myanmar protesters mark the demise – The Diplomat


Anti-coup demonstrators marched carrying slogans on flower pots as they marked the Thingyan festival on Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Yangon, Myanmar.

Credit: Photo AP

Anti-coup protesters in Myanmar exchanged celebrations for the demonstrations and water for red paint, as they maintained fierce resistance against the military government during the Buddhist New Year.

Tuesday marks the start of the five-day Thingyan holiday, marking the beginning of the year in Theravada Buddhist countries. During its typical years, the country ceased operations Thingyan, which was often held with grand banquets, ritual cleaning of Buddha statues and public water fights.

This is the second year Myanmar has not celebrated the Thingyan ceremony, after the festival was canceled last year (as in neighboring countries Thailand and Cambodia) by COVID-19. But many protesters say that refusing to participate in traditional festivals is an important way to undermine the regime’s claims that the situation in Myanmar has returned to normal.

“This year, we will only mark Thingyan with revolutionary songs,” Mandalay resident and poet Kyaw Gyi told local store Myanmar Now.

The activists have planned various challenges for each day of the holiday, which ends on Saturday. On Tuesday, women protested in several cities Traditional pot holder Contains flowers and is traditionally associated with Thingyan, while their procession is blessed by onlookers with water splashed from the branches of the Eugenia bush.

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The next day, the activists held “bloody paint strike, ”In it the protesters Red paint on sidewalks, buildings and signs of government buildings. One participant in the protest told Agence France-Presse that the purpose of the operation is to “commemorate the martyrs who died in the fight for democracy.”

Since the military took power on February 1, at least 715 people were killed by security forces – both protesters and bystanders – while more than 3,000 people are in languishing detention, according to the Association for Supporting Political Prisoners.

Things have remained relatively calm in Yangon and other major cities since the beginning of Thingyan, but this calmness is unlikely to last long after the end of the vacation. The weekend before Thingyan saw at least 82 people (and possibly more) was destroyed by the army in Bago city, Myanmar’s fourth largest city, in which the army is believed to have deployed heavy weapons to disrupt protests.

The government also continued its violations on other fronts. On Tuesday, it does accusing Aung San Suu Kyi, the head of the National League for Democracy (NLD) government was removed, for violating a law aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19, the second offense she faced under that law. (Meanwhile, the coup resulted in the collapse of the state’s COVID-19 test and vaccination effort.) Aung San Suu Kyi was faced with charges of illegally importing radios and raids. public instability and violation of the Colonial Official Secrets Act, as well as being charged with accepting bribes.

The next day, the authorities announced that they were charging at least 19 medical doctors for participating in civil disobedience protests, in particular, for “degrading the state administrative apparatus”. This came after the state media announced that a court order had the death penalty is handed down 19 people (17 were absent) for killing a teammate of an army captain in the North Okkalapa district of Yangon. Martial law has been declared in North Okkalapa and other areas of the city’s industrial suburbs following massive protests there last month.

The death sentences reflect the growing number of protesters who, after two and a half months of protests, began to apply their own form of impromptu resistance to military rule. . Such resistance has been particularly strong in the Sagaing regionwhere some soldiers were killed in violent confrontations with protesters.

While the military has suffered decades of casualties along the country’s periphery in regular self-defeating attempts to quell ethnic revolts, such casualties have occurred in regions. The central, Burmese-dominated region of the country indicates an expansive conflict of Myanmar. engulf the country.

With Freefall economy, the armed ethnic groups debut new behavior in the border areas, and anti-coup protesters turn to increasingly vigorous methods of fighting the government, it seems that Thingyan marks simply a pause in the conflicts. Indeed, the most probable outcome right now is a stalemate match in which victory for both sides is mostly impossible.

As the US-ASEAN Business Council put out in a press conference on Tuesday, “nothing else is in Myanmar’s political forecasts but a bleak and bloody picture waiting to unfold in the coming weeks. . Of course, things will always get better after they get worse but unfortunately, to be fair, we haven’t seen the worst situation in Myanmar yet.

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