The UN said on Tuesday that it feared that Burma would sink like Syria into a generalized conflict after the coup denounced by a protest movement, which marked the first day of the Buddhist New Year by painting pro-democracy messages on traditional flower pots.
Burma has been plunged into chaos since the coup by a military junta on February 1, which ousted former civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi from power. According to the count made by the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP), the repression of the civil disobedience movement has left at least 710 dead, including 50 children. Some 3,000 people were arrested.
Numerous Western convictions
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said she feared “that the situation in Burma is heading towards generalized conflict” and urged states to “take immediate, decisive and effective measures. To force the junta to end the repression. According to her, “there are clear echoes of Syria in 2011”, when peaceful protests erupted before being fiercely suppressed. Ten years later, the conflict has left nearly 400,000 dead.
“States must not allow fatal mistakes that have been committed in Syria and elsewhere to be repeated,” she said, further deeming “clearly not sufficient” the declarations of condemnation and the targeted sanctions. The coup drew many condemnations from Western capitals, sometimes accompanied by sanctions targeting the junta and its financial interests.
“Fight for democracy”
In this context, many opponents of the putsch have said they want to boycott the water festival on Tuesday, which kicks off the Thingyan festival, the Buddhist New Year, scheduled to take place until Friday. The civil disobedience movement nevertheless wants to make its voice heard.
Residents of Yangon, Monywa and Bago have thus diverted flower pots traditionally used for the holidays by painting them or placing messages in favor of democracy before placing them in the streets.
“Fight for democracy”, “Never give up”, could be read on clay pots. According to an opponent of Yangon, who goes by his first name only, Ray, for security reasons, the jars are a way to welcome the New Year and to “honor the dead heroes.”