Myanmar coup leader’s birthday marked with mock funerals

Protesters in coup-hit Myanmar marked the birthday of junta leader Min Aung Hlaing on Saturday by burning his portrait and staging mock funerals.

The nation has experienced mass protests and a brutal military response since the February 1 coup which ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Almost 890 civilians have died in a crackdown by the State Administration Council — as the junta calls itself — and almost 6,500 have been arrested, according to a local monitoring group.

On Saturday, several anti-coup demonstrators posted pictures on social media of a traditional noodle soup dish called mohinga, which is often served at funerals in Myanmar. “Many innocent people lost their lives because of him. So, if he died, the whole country would be happy,” a Yangon resident said.

In Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city, some activists burnt pictures of the junta leader and set fire to fake coffins at mock funerals. “Because of this man, our Myanmar has many problems,” a Mandalay resident told AFP.

Retirement age

General Min turns 65 on Saturday — the age he would have been subject to mandatory retirement while he headed up the armed forces, as stipulated by the country’s 2008 Constitution.

Some analysts believe that was a factor in his power-grab because he had not been able to see a path to higher office with the help of the military-backed political party, which was routed in an election last year. Before the coup, General Min was considered an international pariah, condemned for presiding over the brutal 2017 crackdown on the country’s Rohingya population.

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