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New Years’ protests in Myanmar to end today


New Years’ protests in Myanmar to end today

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Photo: AP Photo

Myanmar activists’ public protests of the military coup over the traditional New Year, known as Thingyan, will end today.

While Thingyan is the most important national holiday of the year, anti-regime demonstrators replaced celebrations with different shows of defiance on each day of the five-day New Year. Among other actions, protesters threw red paint in the street and women wore traditional New Year clothes, held traditional pots and marched on a street in Yangon. The protests, joined by diverse groups such as supporters of deposed state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and other opposition groups, are largely leaderless and thus less likely to form a coherent strategy to challenge the military takeover.

The final day of celebrations is expected to be marked by increased unrest against the junta, with a corresponding rise in the number of people injured, detained and killed by security forces. In the absence of collective responses from both the UN and ASEAN, the crackdowns are expected to intensify, particularly in the face of largely ineffectual Western sanctions. The anti-coup protests will continue to struggle without a unifying goal, such as the return of Suu Kyi’s illiberal democracy (which defended the military’s genocide of Rohingya Muslims) or the establishment of an entirely new form of government. Otherwise, the continuation of protests will see only more casualties.

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