Bangkok, Apr 13 (EFE).- Opponents of the military junta that controls Myanmar began a four-day boycott Wednesday of the celebrations scheduled for the Buddhist New Year by the regime.
Playful water exchanges are popular during this celebration, known in Myanmar as Thingyan and also celebrated – under different names – in countries such as Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, while the more traditional sort attend solemn religious ceremonies.
The streets of Yangon, the country’s populous city, remain almost deserted, according to images published by witnesses on social media, in contrast with the crowd and hubbub that the city registered before the February 2021 military coup.
Meanwhile, a few hundred people attended celebrations organized by the junta, according to images broadcast by public channel MRTV, controlled by the regime.
Independent media outlet Mizzima published Wednesday that authorities called on bar and hotel owners to organize parties to commemorate the date in the days leading up to Thingyan.
Since the military uprising, Myanmar people have expressed their rejection of the coup and a popular civil disobedience movement began – promoted by health workers – who called an indefinite strike to avoid working under the junta.
This opposition movement demanded at the beginning of the month that people refrain from participating in Thingyan celebrations due to the fear that the junta would use it as “propaganda” to promote the idea of normality in the country.
In addition to the popular boycott in Yangon, this act of peaceful protest has been replicated throughout the country.
A group of Buddhist monks in Mandalay, in the center of the country and the second largest city in population, began Wednesday, as they were called to recite new year prayers, a silent strike and refused to participate in ceremonies, according to local news outlet The Irrawaddy.
At least 1,745 people have been killed by authorities’ violent response against peaceful dissent, according to data from the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners in Myanmar.
The country has plunged into a deep social, political, economic and humanitarian crisis since the military coup that abruptly ended a decade of incipient democracy and has exacerbated the armed conflict in the country with ethnic minority militias. EFE