Protesters paint Yangon red, call for boycott of water fest

YANGON: Myanmar’s pro-democracy protesters sprayed red paint on roads in Yangon on Tuesday in a reminder to the junta that it had blood on its hands as the crisis created by a military coup in the Southeast Asian nation dragged on with no end in sight.
Several groups called for a boycott of next week’s Thingyan Water Festival, which marks the Buddhist new year. Leaflets calling for the ban, distributed in Yangon, said it would be a sign of compassion for the families of those killed.
About 570 people have been killed during two months of unrest since the February 1 coup, and security forces have arrested close to 3,500 people, with about four-fifths of them still in detention, advocacy group the Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said on Tuesday.
Demonstrators woke early in Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city, to spray and splash pavements, roads and bus shelters with red paint in protest at a sweeping crackdown by security forces that has caused weeks of international outrage.
“The blood has not dried,” said one message in red.
Another daubed across a bus shelter implored rank-and-file soldiers not to be exploited by kleptocratic generals clinging onto power.
“Don’t kill people just for a small salary as low as the cost of dog food,” it said in a message that went onto accuse junta leader, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, of stealing from people.
Anger has swept Myanmar in the past two months over the return of a military government and an abrupt end to a brief era of democratic and economic reform and international integration that was absent under the military’s oppressive 1962-2011 rule.
Some protesters have called their movement a “spring revolution”, characterised by street marches, quirky acts of non-violent rebellion and civil disobedience campaigns aimed at crippling the government apparatus. — Reuters