Conflicts & War

Easter eggs to challenge Myanmar military junta

Bangkok, Apr 4 (efe-epa).- Those opposing the coup held by Myanmar’s military junta used Easter eggs Sunday to spread their messages after violent repression has cost the lives of at least 557 people.

With messages such as “we want democracy,” “we have to win” or “we oppose the military coup”, the so-called Easter egg strike caught on in the main cities and spread on social networks through the profiles of activists and of digital media.

According to the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners of Myanmar, 557 people have died since the coup on Feb. 1, the last four during protests Saturday, although they said the real number of casualties is higher, due to problems collecting data.

Added to the deaths are 2,658 people currently detained, while the military junta tries to stop the spread of the protests by cutting off the internet signal, with cable connection — which is scarce in the country — as the only option.

Although most of the protests have been peaceful so far, in recent days some dissidents have been involved in violent incidents, such as one that killed five police officers Thursday in the central region, when a deserting agent — shot to death — led the grenade attack on a police station.

Dissidents willing to take up arms may find a place in the armed groups of ethnic minorities, whose conflict with the national army has escalated in recent weeks and threatens to plunge the country into a full-scale civil war.

Some of these armed groups, which have been in conflict with the state for decades, have shown their sympathy for dissent and have given the junta an ultimatum if violence against civilians continues.

Despite the ceasefire the army decreed Thursday in its conflicts with guerrillas, the association said in its latest statement that the military offensive continues in some regions.

The Karen region, controlled by the Karen National Union (KNU) — in truce since 2012 — has suffered in the last week its first bombings in 20 years, which have caused at least 14 deaths and the displacement of some 20,000 people according to NGO Free Myanmar Rangers.

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday condemned the violence against “peaceful protesters” and the death of civilians, including children, in its third statement on the Myanmar crisis.

However, the Council again avoided a specific condemnation of the military and spoke of possible sanctions or an international arms embargo, something UN Special Rapporteur for Myanmar Tom Andrews described Sunday on Twitter as “regrettable.”

“Using it as an excuse for inaction would be unacceptable,” said Andrews, who also called for coordinated international action to support dissent “under siege.”

The military justified the coup on an alleged electoral fraud in the November elections, in which Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide, as it did in 2015; and were considered legitimate by international observers. EFE-EPA


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