Easter eggs become symbol of defiance for Myanmar protesters

Opponents of Myanmar’s military rule wrote messages of protest on Easter eggs on Sunday, while others were back on the streets, surrendering to security after a night of candlelight vigils for hundreds of people killed since a February 1 coup.

At the latest in a series of spontaneous shows of defiance, messages such as “We must win”, “Spring revolution” and “Get out MAH” could be seen on eggs in photographs on social media, the latter referring to the junta leader Min Aung Hlaing. Easter is not widespread in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), an activist group that has been monitoring victims and arrests since the military overthrew the elected government of Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, said the death toll rose to 557 late Saturday.

“People across Burma continue to strike for the end of the dictatorship, for democracy and human rights,” said the group, using a different name for the Southeast Asian country.

Despite the murders, demonstrators continue to appear daily in cities and towns to oppose the return of military rule after a decade of tentative moves towards democracy. Numerous candlelight vigils took place on Saturday evening.

Hundreds of people protested early Sunday in the country’s second largest city, Mandalay, some on foot, others on motorbikes. This came out from pictures on social media before police and soldiers moved in to disperse them.

Protesters also gathered in several other cities.

There were no immediate reports of violence.

The police and a spokesman for the junta did not reply to comments.

Opponents of military rule have also carried out a civilian strike campaign against disobedience and often organized creative shows of defiance that extended to eggs on Easter Sunday.

Meanwhile, the military is campaigning to control information and suppress dissent.

It ordered ISPs to cut wireless broadband from Friday, preventing most customers from accessing it, although some messages and pictures were still posted and shared.

Authorities have also issued arrest warrants for nearly 40 celebrities known for defying military rule, including social media influencers, singers, and models, under a law against inciting disagreement among the armed forces.

The charges, which were announced in the main evening news bulletins broadcast by state media on Friday and Saturday, could be sentenced to three years in prison.

One of the defendants, blogger Thurein Hlaing Win, told Reuters that he was shocked to see himself branded a criminal on television and went into hiding.

“I haven’t done anything bad or evil. I was on the side of the truth. I followed the path I believe in. Between good and bad, I chose good,” he said by phone from an unknown location.

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The military ruled the former British colony with an iron fist after seizing power in a 1962 coup until it withdrew from civil politics a decade ago, releasing Suu Kyi from years of house arrest and allowing an election that swept her party in 2015.

It is said that she must overthrow Suu Kyi’s government because a November election, which her party could easily win, was rigged. The electoral commission rejected the claim.

Suu Kyi is in custody and is charged with 14 years in prison. Your lawyer says the charges have been trumped.

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