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PHOTOS: Shirtless men, women in gowns—Myanmar protests get creative against military coup

By CHUCK SMITH Published Feb 11, 2021 2:54 am

The fifth day of street demonstrations in Myanmar, after the country’s military seized power and detained popular civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi last week, saw its largest crowd.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators hit the streets to protest against the coup, which saw the country return to military rule after over 10 years of democracy.

And while police in Myanmar have reportedly resorted to force with the use of tear gas and rubber bullets, demonstrators are going the opposite route—by using creative ways to protest. 

Protestors on Wednesday, Feb. 10 flocked the streets of Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar, wearing eye-catching attires—or lack thereof—and attention-grabbing signs and posters.

For instance, chiselled shirtless men marched in protest in Yangon while holding signs and posters calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Meanwhile, a group of women went to the protests wearing wedding dresses and ball gowns, as if dressed as princesses—while wearing sneakers. Protests in other parts of the country also saw demonstrators dressed as superheroes and ghosts. A number of demonstrators protested outside the Japanese embassy in Yangon, shouting protest slogans while lounging in an inflatable pool.

“I don’t want dictatorship. I just want boyfriend,” one sign used during the protest reads.

Demonstrators seem undeterred even after a woman is currently in critical condition after being shot in the head during the protest in Yangon on Tuesday, Feb. 9. According to BBC, the woman, 19-year-old Mya Thwe Thwe Khaing, was hurt after police tried to disperse the demonstrators using water cannon and rubber bullets. The report added human rights groups in the country said the wound she sustained was “consistent with one from live ammunition.”

The Myanmar military also imposed a nationwide internet blackout, with access to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter blocked the days prior—methods seen as ways to stifle the protests.

Echoes of the protests in Hong Kong and Thailand last year reverberate in the protests in Myanmar this year. Protestors can be seen giving the three-finger salute, commonly attributed to the dystopian novel and movie series “Hunger Games” and has been used both in Hong Kong and Thailand as a symbol of defiance against the authoritarian governments.

Banner photo, thumbnail, and insert photos by AFP