Yangon, protests and prayers in the Burmese New Year (VIDEO)
by Francis Khoo Thwe

Starting today Thingyan is celebrated for five days. Flowers and potted plants, typical of the festival, used for events. In Tamu, near the border with India, security forces threaten doctors and nurses with guns. For the New Year, the resistance organizes funeral wakes for the heroes killed. Last night a prayer vigil for the fallen in the “Spring Revolution” held close to Pathein cathedral.

Yangon (AsiaNews) - From today until April 18, Myanmar is celebrating the Thingyan, the Burmese New Year, which is the most important annual holiday. The groups resisting the recent military coup have promised to continue protests instead of celebrations even in this period.

During the New Year, which has Buddhist roots, the houses are adorned with vases full of flowers. So today in the street demonstrations, the demonstrators carried bouquets of flowers and potted plants (see video). Many small pots with seedlings were also placed in the water in Yangon (photo 2).

There are other forms of poignant and symbolic protest: painting the streets, hands raised in the three fingered salute, the honking car horns. The sobriety of these gestures serves to recover energy after the Bago massacre and the violence that the security forces unleash every night under dark with raids on private homes and arrests.

Yesterday in Tamu, in the Sagaing region, near the northwestern border with India, soldiers carried out a raid on the local hospital, beating security guards and threatening doctors and nurses with weapons, forcing them to hand over their cell phones.

For months the population of Tamu has been organized in strong resistance and the entrance to the city was protected by barricades. One of the leaders of the resistance was a former policeman who defected to protest the coup. He was killed in early April in a clash with the security forces in which five soldiers died. Yesterday morning, the soldiers destroyed all the barricades using bulldozers.

The democracy movement also suggested a day of silence and prayer to commemorate the victims of violence, the "heroes" (activists) and "fallen stars" (children) killed by the security forces.

The proposal is for Buddhists, Christians and for followers of other religions. Yesterday, on the eve of the Thingyan, in Pathein, on the western part of the delta of the Irrawaddy River, a wake was held in the space in front of the cathedral for "the heroes who fell in the Spring Revolution", which was attended by hundreds of faithful, together to dozens of priests, nuns and seminarians (see photo 3-4).


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