Military council seeking to draw big crowd to Thingyan Festival

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Nay Pyi Taw, March (22)

The military council is making various efforts in regions and states including Nay Pyi Taw to attract large numbers of people to the upcoming Thingyan, Myanma’s New Year Water Festival.

The junta is continuously conducting coordination meetings with its ministers and departmental staff in some of the relevant regions and states to successfully hold the “Walking Thingyan” as a commemoration of the New Year Festival.

The junta-controlled media reported that the Thingyan programs include building a central pavilion, dance competitions, walking Thingyan, water throwing pavilions, serving refreshments, and stage performances by famous singers.

In Nay Pyi Taw, where the military council’s offices are located, the authorities are also planning to successfully hold the Walking Thingyan Festival, and instructed the staff and their family members at a coordination meeting on March 13 to participate in the festival.

The military apparatus is already collapsing while facing pressure from the revolutionary forces, thus, it is holding festivities to deceive the people and its subordinates, said a member of Nay Pyi Taw PDF.

In the more than two years since the military coup, civilians have fled their homes in some areas, including Sagaing and Magway, their homes have been burned or destroyed, and local residents have been killed by the junta forces.

In the more than two years since the military coup, more than 3,100 people were killed nationwide, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

Sayar Kyaung, Yangon UG Association’s information officer, said, “When the whole country is suffering and the homes of local people in Sagaing are being burned down and people are being unjustly killed, I appeal to the people to remain calm and sympathize. Please do not support the military council in any way.”

In an attempt to attract crowds during Thingyan in the cities of Yangon and Mandalay, where there are no armed conflicts such as in Upper Myanmar, the military council said that it will no longer collect taxes on private water pavilions, and is encouraging companies to apply for pavilions on a first-come, first-served basis.

In Yangon, the mayor’s pavilion and regional government pavilions will be built, and the walking Thingyan Festival will be held in People’s Square with the Municipal Development Committee ordering employees to participate in the events.

“In normal situations, when Thingyan is approaching, I feel delighted when I hear Thingyan songs. Yet since the coup d’état, Thingyan’s essence has faded away. I’m not happy even if I hear a Thingyan song. I have no desire to take part in any festivities organized by the military council after the coup, and I will never support them. Some are unable to return to their beloved families,” said a Yangon resident.

Ko Aye Min Tun, the PDF official Thaton District, said “the military council is pushing departmental staff to take part in the Thingyan festival in order to make it crowded during the events, and that if the staff do not follow the instructions, they may be punished.”

The revolutionary forces have urged the people not to participate in the Thingyan festival organized by the junta and not to go to crowded places during Thingyan.

The military council set up Thingyan pavilions across the nation last year, but the people chose to celebrate the “Revolution Thingyan” protesting the military council.

News-Than Lwin Times

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