Jaloon Htaw : In a deliberate display of protest on New Years Day, and on the politically significant Burmese Independence Day, Mon youth carried out varied acts of defiance, most prominently spray paining roads with slogans, condemning the election plans slated for 2010.
On the morning of January 1st, 2010, slogans opposing the 2010 election were found spray painted onto the asphalt along the highway from Moulmein to Ye town, area residents reported to IMNA.
According to one Mon youth from Moulmein, they wrote “2010” in the western Latin script, and a large ‘X’ through the date, meaning that they opposed the current plans for the 2010 election. The youth explained they wrote these words on the road early on New Years Day, 2010.
He reported also hearing that a hot air balloon had been made and recently launched on Burma’s Independence Day, January 4th, painted with slogans condemning the election.
“They made a hot air balloon on Burma’s Independence Day. On that balloon they wrote that they oppose the 2010 election,” he explained. As previously reported by IMNA on September 8th, 2009, 2 Mon youth groups launched a large traditional hot air balloon, also bearing a statement, voicing solidarity with the New Mon State Party’s (NMSP) refusal to join the Border Guard Force proposed by the Burmese military government.
According to a Moulmein university student, the youth from the Moulmein area also conducted activities to oppose to the 2010 election. Specifically Moulimein youth organized celebratory games, a common occurrence on Burma’s Independence Day, on arterial roads off the main highway. There, youth spoke individually with spectators about human rights, and how, according to one youth, “All people have rights.”
“Now the youth are very active. They are making more [political] activities. But I have not heard about anyone being arrested,” he added.
The slogans painted on the road are visible to all vehicles passing between Moulmein and Ye town. According to an eyewitness who traveled form Moulmein to Thanphyuzayart, the words were spray painted to the road in several locations; at Mudon town, Young Doung village bridge, Kwan Tar village, Naing Hlone village, Taw Kuu village, Mudon township and also at the Thanphyuzayart town road.
“What they wrote in one place was not the same as what they wrote in another place,” the passerby explained. “Some were written with an ‘X’ through the year, some were written as ‘NO 2010’. The youth who wrote these are the ones who oppose the SPDC. What they mean is that they do not agree with the [Burmese government] 2010 election.”
These acts of defiance come at a sensitive time, marking the first of the year in which the Burmese military junta has stated it plans to hold nation wide elections, and also on the nation’s 62nd Independence Day from British colonial rule.
Not surprisingly then, residents and passengers along the road have reported an increase in Burmese military security forces. According to one monk from Moulmein, the security increase came on January 1st after the slogans on the road were found.
“When we were going around for donations from the people in the early morning, we saw those slogans,” the Moulmein monk recounted. “After that 3 trucks of soldiers came and just sat by Mattgin road and Voot Kyi Pagoda road in Moulmein.”
No reports have yet been made of arrests pertaining to any of the youth activity.