In Myanmar, Easter eggs become a symbol of defiance for anti-coup protesters –

In Myanmar, Easter eggs become a symbol of defiance for anti-coup protesters

(Reuters) – Opponents of the military government in Myanmar inscribed protest messages on Easter eggs on Sunday, while others returned to the streets, clashing with security forces after a night of candlelight vigils for the hundreds of deaths since the coup of February 1.

A person shows an Easter egg painted with a sign reading “Spring Revolution” following protests against the military coup, in Mandalay, Myanmar, on April 3, 2021 in this image obtained by Reuters from social media.

In the latest in a series of impromptu defiance shows, messages such as “We Must Win,” “Spring Revolution,” and “Out MAH” were seen in photos on social media, the latter referring to the board’s leader, Min Aung Hlaing. Easter is not widely observed in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar.

The Association for Assistance for Political Prisoners (AAPP), an activist group that monitors casualties and arrests since the military overthrew the elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, said the death toll had risen to 557 as of Saturday. at night.

“The people of Burma continued to strike for the end of the dictatorship, for democracy and human rights,” the group said, using another name for the Southeast Asian country.

Despite the killings, protesters continue to flock every day in cities large and small to reject the return of the military government after a decade of tentative steps toward democracy. Numerous candlelight vigils were held on Saturday night.

Early Sunday morning, hundreds of people protested in the country’s second city, Mandalay, some on foot, others on motorcycles, according to images on social media, before police and soldiers mobilized to disperse them.

The protesters also gathered in several other cities.

There were no immediate reports of violence.

Police and a board spokesperson did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.


Opponents of the military government have also mounted a campaign of civil disobedience strikes and organize often creative defiance demonstrations, which on Easter Sunday were extended to eggs.

The AAPP said 2,658 people were in detention, including four women and a man who spoke to a CNN news team in interviews on the streets of the main city of Yangon last week.

A CNN spokesperson said it was aware of reports of arrests after the team’s visit.

“We are pressuring the authorities for information on this and for the safe release of the detainees,” the spokesman said.

The army is conducting its own campaign to control information and suppress dissent.

It ordered ISPs to cut wireless broadband starting Friday, depriving most customers of access, although some messages and images were still being posted and shared.

Authorities have also issued arrest warrants for nearly 40 celebrities known for opposing the military government, including social media influencers, singers and models, under a law against incitement to dissent in the military.

The charge, announced in the main evening news bulletins broadcast by state media on Friday and Saturday, can carry a three-year prison term.


One of the defendants, blogger Thurein Hlaing Win, told Reuters that he was shocked to see himself branded as a criminal on television and that he had gone into hiding.

“I did not do anything bad or evil. I took the side of the truth. I followed the path that I believe in. Between good and evil, I chose the good, ”he said by phone from an undisclosed location.

“If they punish me for that, my conscience is clear. My beliefs will not change. Everyone knows the truth. “

The army ruled the former British colony with an iron fist after seizing power in a 1962 coup until it began to withdraw from civilian politics a decade ago, freeing Suu Kyi from years of house arrest and allowing an election for her party. it swept in 2015.

He says he had to topple Suu Kyi’s government because the November elections, again easily won by his party, were rigged. The electoral commission has dismissed the claim.

Many in Myanmar, particularly young people who have come of age during the last decade of social and economic openness, cannot accept the return of government by the generals.

Suu Kyi is in custody and faces charges that could carry up to 14 years in prison. His lawyer says the charges are false.

The coup has also sparked clashes with ethnic minority forces seeking autonomy and who have announced their support for the pro-democracy movement.

The Karen National Union, which signed a ceasefire in 2012, has seen the first military airstrikes against its forces in more than 20 years and says it must fight to defend itself from a government offensive.

The group said that more than 12,000 villagers had fled their homes due to the airstrikes.

Clashes have also broken out in the north between the army and ethnic Kachin insurgents. The unrest has caused several thousand refugees to flee to Thailand and India.

Suu Kyi’s party has promised to establish a federal democracy, the main demand of minority groups.

Reuters staff reports; Written by Robert Birsel; Edited by William Mallard and Kenneth Maxwell


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