Myanmar protesters string women’s clothing to protect themselves

Traditional clothing hangs from a rope as protesters with shields line up in the background during a protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on March 6, 2021 in this still image obtained by Reuters from a video.

(Reuters) – Protesters in Myanmar have started hanging women’s clothing in rows along the streets to curb police and soldiers because walking underneath them is traditionally seen as bad luck for men.

The wraparound cloths, known as longyi, are hung on washing ropes. Sometimes women’s underwear is also used.

“The reason we hang longyis in the streets is that we have a traditional belief that if we go under a longyi, we could lose our luck,” said a 20-year-old protester who declined to give his name out of fear of retaliation.

“The younger generation today no longer believe it, but the soldiers still believe it, and it is their weakness. So we could buy more time to run if they come to us in an emergency. “

Videos on social media have shown police removing clothing lines before crossing them. Traditionally, walking under items used to cover women’s private parts is not only bad luck, but it emasculates men.

Reuters was unable to reach police for comment.

For more than a month, protesters have demonstrated across Myanmar against the February 1 military coup and the arrest of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and hundreds of others. Security forces have killed more than 50 protesters.

Clothes lines do not prevent police from using tear gas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades. Some protesters have also been shot dead. The military has said it has responded to the protests sparingly.

The army seized power citing fraud in the November elections won by Suu Kyi’s party. The electoral commission had dismissed his accusations.

Written by Jiraporn Kuhakan; Edited by Matthew Tostevin and Ros Russell


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