As Christians around the world celebrated Easter on Sunday, protesters in Myanmar incorporated one of the holiday’s best-known symbols into their fight against the military junta: colorful eggs painted with pro-democracy slogans.
More than 550 people, including dozens of children, have been killed by security forces since the Feb. 1 coup, which crushed a decade of democratic gains in the Southeast Asian country. But protesters have responded with largely peaceful forms of resistance, including art, poetry and dance. One demonstration used stuffed animals placed on the street so people could remain safely inside.
Now, it’s eggs.
Protesters in the country’s biggest city Yangon handed out boiled eggs inscribed with anti-coup messages such as “Save Myanmar,” “Military slaves love to kill” and “Spring Revolution.”
One egg was painted with an AK-47 crossed out and the words “Reject Coup” around it.
Pictures of them went viral on social media.
The eggs were also painted with “The Hunger Games” three-finger salute, a pan-Asian democracy symbol used widely in Myanmar to express opposition to the coup and the ouster of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Myanmar is predominantly Buddhist, and Christianity is the second-biggest religion, accounting for an estimated 8 percent of the population.
But the nationwide protests sweeping the country have been a source of unity for religious and ethnic groups, who are rallying around each other’s traditions in service of a common cause.
The resistance received a message of support from Pope Francis, who in his Easter message praised Myanmar’s youth. He said they were “committed to supporting democracy and making their voices heard peacefully.”
But Easter Sunday was not without bloodshed, a daily reality in Myanmar now.
Reports say at least five people were killed by security forces in village raids and when forces opened fire at protesters riding motorbikes.
Despite lethal violence and internet blackouts, protesters have managed to test the military for months with drawn-out strikes and boycotts that have crippled the economy.
Many international firms have also cut ties with the country, though it is unclear if the generals will back down any time soon.
The crackdown has killed 564 people as of April 4, according to monitoring group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. An additional 2,667 people remain in detention.