World

Myanmar protesters place women’s clothes across streets to thwart crackdown

The military has subjected Myanmar’s people to intensifying brutality since it seized power in a coup on Feb. 1, deposing the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

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More than 1,700 people have been detained, including Suu Kyi, her democratically elected ministers and others who were grabbed from their homes in nighttime raids for protesting the military. More than 50 have died at the hands of security forces, some shot in the head or chest. But the anti-coup resistance persists, and Myanmar protesters are finding creative ways to thwart the military.

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Women, who are front and center in these protests, have strung up their htameins, the traditional sarong worn in Myanmar, and their underwear and bras on clotheslines around protest zones. Soldiers and police are hesitant to walk under them because of superstitious beliefs that these women’s garments can sap them of their masculinity and bring bad luck. Others are using the items as flags at protests.

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Women hang a collection of traditional clothing called longyi across a road in Yangon, Myanmar.

Lynn Bo Bo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Lynn Bo Bo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Lynn Bo Bo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Activist Thinzar Shunlei Yi described the garment as her “cape,” able to protect her better than the armed forces. Others are plastering images of Myanmar’s commander in chief, Min Aung Hlaing, on the ground so that security forces reluctant to step on his portrait will avoid entering those areas.

Some officers have trampled on these portraits anyway to arrest peaceful protesters, while others have burned htameins hanging around neighborhoods.

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Although some have defected, security forces are persisting in their crackdown, using live rounds, stun grenades, tear gas and other force against demonstrators.

Myanmar people are appealing to the United Nations and the international community for more action, urging the U.N. to designate the Myanmar military as a terrorist organization.

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AP

Lynn Bo Bo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

AP

Protesters retreat after tear gas was fired.

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AFP/Getty Images

Demonstrators prepare water to counter the police’s use of tear gas.

Maung Lonlan/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Maung Lonlan/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Water is thrown at protesters to diminish the effect of tear gas.

AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images