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Red paint in Burmese streets mark 700+ deaths

Neill Fronde



A note from a protester on the streets of Yangon: “Dear UN, How are you? I hope you are well. As for Myanmar, we are dying.”

Marking over 700 deaths in the Burmese military crackdown, anti-coup protesters in Myanmar are splashing red paint across the streets of Yangon to represent the blood of those killed in the growing crisis. Myanmar has ground to a halt as the military junta attempt to silence opposition to their February 1 takeover with deadly force. 714 deaths have been verified by local monitoring groups, but they warn the actual number may be much higher.

The economy and daily functioning of the country is immobile, the internet has been cut off to many citizens, even Myanmar’s Thingyan New Year festival, similar to Thailand’s Songkran holiday, has been cancelled. Instead of water fights in the street, protesters explained they used the holiday to draw a parallel, splashing red paint “blood” instead to draw attention to the Burmese deaths at the hands of the military.

“The purpose of the “bleeding strike” is to remember the martyrs who died in the struggle for democracy. We should not be happy during this festival time. We have to feel sadness for the martyrs who are bleeding and we must continue to fight this battle in any way we can.”

Simple but powerful signs and notes were found amongst the blood protest with phrases like, “blood has not dried on the streets,” “overthrow the era of fear,” and “hope our military dictatorship fails.” Perhaps most poignant was a note found on red-painted streets reading, “Dear UN, How are you? I hope you are well. As for Myanmar, we are dying.”

The UN fears that a Syrian-style conflict is around the corner for Myanmar, calling on countries to take immediate steps against the military junta, citing possible crimes against humanity. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet draws the Syria comparison, worried a full-blown Burmese civil war could parallel the Syrian war that has led to 400,000 deaths and 6 million refugees. While some countries have enacted sanctions, infighting has delayed meaningful action with the EU claiming Russia and China are blocking possible UN arms embargos.

Meanwhile, the military added many more people to the list of over 260 people including doctors and celebrities they are seeking to arrest for crimes such as spreading dissent or treating injured protesters. 7 protesters in Yangon, 3 in absentia, were sentenced to death for the alleged murder of a suspected informant.

In the northwest of Myanmar, a milk delivery couple were killed by military storming the town of Tamu. And in the Mandalay region, protesters drove motorbikes with red flags supporting imprisoned leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

SOURCE: Channel News Asia


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  1. Avatar


    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 3:32 am

    Basically the army in Myanmar is an organization that is a state within a state. They form a close knit community where the armed forces live with their families in walled compounds. Inside are shops schools, temples and everything else they need. The families who live there have little contact with the outside world. That way they can be easily indoctrinated and makes opposition from within very difficult. The junta leaders strongly believe (one diplomat said even in all sincerity) they need to control every part of society. The argument is that it is the only way to keep the country together and suppress claims of independence by the many different ethnic groups. In the process the top echelon amassed enormous wealth and many of the larger companies are owned by the military. They must have feared that the democratic progress would increasingly interfere with their interests. However, the military made a miscalculation in that the young people are not much interested in politics. The assumption was that as long as they can play online games there won’t be much opposition. As it turned out they do care how the country is run and even risk their lives for democracy and freedom. In recent years they gained new insights and their future prospects turned for the better. With some help or not, many set up already small enterprises. I have seen some examples when I was there at the end of 2018. The world bank stated that the Myanmar people were among the most reliable money borrowers when it comes to repaying their debts. With their dreams shattered, the young generation now want to join the ethnic guerilla armies to get military training. The outlook for the country is pretty grim.

  2. Avatar


    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 7:43 am

    And people wonder why American citizens don’t want to give up their guns. Just remember what can happen almost overnight.

  3. Avatar


    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 10:54 am

    Democracy – pah!

  4. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    Very informative, @Ray, thanks.

  5. Avatar


    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    Sorry but the young generation wants to join the guerilla army? I seriously doubt that.

    Most of them a relatively well-off urbanites the idea of them living on jungle months and years on end under horrible conditions and running the risk of getting killed either by the army or the dangers of the jungle just doesn´t look plausible

    Will a few do it? Maybe but I don´t think even the ethnic armies would trust them because they are Burmese.

    I’m going to say that I don´t know the reasons for the army to take power but I know it isn´t the simplistic: “they lost the election and got angry” or “the general would have to retire next year”

    They lost the election 5 years ago and accepted it so that doesn´t cut it.
    The most plausible I readied was that they didn´t want Ms sukyee negotiating directly with china without consulting them. That seems more plausible

    As for them miscalculating maybe but not for those reasons. What they probably misunderstood was the level of infiltration that these NGOs had on sections of the youth meaning that they were able within a week to mobilize a small army of thugs and start cause havoc

    Just like happened in HK last year and even have been happening in Thailand on a lower scale, they started doing barricades, using cocktail Molotov, stones, arrows, fire extinguishers and it seems small arms

    During the first month the demonstrations were peaceful and nobody died and the army let people demonstrate but towards the end of February things escalated when these guys showed up on the streets.
    Since then has been a low intensity conflict largely relegated to certain areas in Yangon and other smaller cities

    The capita itself has been unaffected probably demonstrating why the generals build a new capital it helps the state to be more stable. (Btw that´s something Thailand should have done long ago. Indonesia and Egypt are doing it.

    As for the future being grim. If they can stabilize the situation and then get some negotiations going for a shared power between the army and Ms sukyee things can go back on track relatively soon.

    What cannot happen is foreign intervention that´s disastrous.

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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