Saturday, May 15, 2021

Defiant Myanmar protesters paint Yangon blood red as military targets celebrities

Authorities have now issued arrest warrants for dozens of celebrities, models and social media influencers, all of whom have spoken out against the coup.

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Opponents of Myanmar’s military junta sprayed blood red paint on roads and buildings in the country’s biggest city on Tuesday to mark the deaths of hundreds of protesters killed by troops.

Demonstrators woke early in Yangon to spray and splash pavements, roads and bus shelters with red paint, Reuters is reporting.

“The blood has not dried,” said one message in red. Another was directed at soldiers: “Don’t kill people just for a small salary as low as the cost of dog food.”

Those able to access social media, on Tuesday shared pictures of striking workers marching for a second day in the city of Mandalay, some wearing gas masks and giving the three-finger salute that has become a symbol of resistance to army rule.

A day earlier, demonstrators held placards of detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi and signs calling for international intervention.

Authorities have now issued arrest warrants for dozens of celebrities, models and social media influencers, all of whom have spoken out against the coup.

Sithu Aung Myint, a popular comedian, was on the wanted list and on Tuesday he was arrested in Yangon, the Mizzima news site reported.

Writing on Facebook, he said he was proud: “When the coup council who have been committing crimes announces you as a lawbreaker together with the whole country, you will be more than happy because you are recognised as a hero in this revolution,” he wrote. “Your next generation will be proud of you.”

Last week, Han Lay, 22, Miss Grand Myanmar, spoke out in Bangkok against the military junta.

“Today in my country Myanmar there are so many people dying,” she said at the Miss Grand International 2020 event in Thailand. “Please help Myanmar.”

A month ago, the University of Yangon psychology student was on the streets of Yangon, protesting.

She decided to use the pageant as an international platform.

“In Myanmar, journalists are detained, so I decided to speak out,” she told the BBC in a phone interview from Bangkok.

She is concerned now that her two-minute speech could have put her on the radar of the military, so she will stay put in Thailand for at least three months.

She told the BBC she knew before she left for Thailand that she would be potentially putting herself and her family at risk.

“I am so worried about my family,” she said. “My friends told me to not come back to Myanmar.”

She said she had not been contacted by the military or any other officials after her speech, but she said she had been on the receiving end of threatening comments on her social media accounts.

“On social media they threatened me, saying when I go back to Myanmar prison is waiting for me.”

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