Myanmar coup protesters shame military with red paint as death toll mounts

Myanmar coup protesters splashed red paint and dye on roads and signs outside government offices on Wednesday to represent the blood of people killed protesting against the junta, on the second day of the traditional new year holiday.

The display aimed at shaming the military took place in various towns and cities, according to pictures posted by media outlets, as people answered a call by activists to join what they termed a bloody paint strike.

Some people marched with signs calling for the release of the leader of the ousted government, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. She has been detained since the February 1 coup on various charges including violating an official secrets act that could see her imprisoned for 14 years.

The coup has plunged Myanmar into crisis after 10 years of tentative steps toward democracy with daily protests and various campaigns of defiance including strikes by workers in many sectors that have brought the economy to a standstill.

The five-day New Year holiday, known as Thingyan, began on Tuesday but pro-democracy activists cancelled the usual festivities to focus on their opposition to the generals who seized power.

The military says the protests are petering out. Activists have planned different shows of defiance every day over the holiday, which ends on Saturday.

An activist group, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, says the security forces have killed 710 protesters since the ousting of Suu Kyi’s government.

The United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday it feared that the military clampdown on the protests risked escalating into a civil conflict like that seen in Syria.