Myanmar's pro-democracy protesters sprayed red paint on roads in Yangon yesterday in a reminder to the junta that it had blood on its hands as the crisis created by a military coup in the Southeast Asian nation dragged on with no end in sight.
Several groups called for a boycott of next week's Thingyan Water Festival, which marks the Buddhist new year. Leaflets calling for the ban, distributed in Yangon, said it would be a sign of compassion for the families of those killed.
About 570 people have been killed during two months of unrest since the Feb. 1 coup, and security forces have arrested close to 3,500 people, with about four-fifths of them still in detention, advocacy group the Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said yesterday.
Demonstrators woke early in Yangon, Myanmar's biggest city, to spray and splash pavements, roads and bus shelters with red paint in protest at a sweeping crackdown by security forces that has caused weeks of international outrage.
"The blood has not dried," said one message in red.
Another protest scheduled for today has called for the burning of Chinese-made goods. Many protesters are opposed to China because it is seen as supporting the junta.
The coup and crackdown have drawn outrage and sanctions from world powers, as well as prompting several international companies to suspend business in Myanmar.
But the pressure has yet to tell on the generals, who have shown little sign of stepping back from their efforts to suppress protests.
And yesterday, Russia, which has sought to build ties with the junta, joined China in publicly rejecting sanctions against Myanmar.
News agency Interfax quoted a Russian foreign ministry spokesperson as warning "threats and pressure" could push Myanmar closer to "full-blown civil conflict".
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian restated Beijing's opposition to "inappropriate interference" in Myanmar.
But he said China backed a summit of regional bloc ASEAN to discuss the crisis -- mooted by Malaysia and Brunei's leaders after talks on Monday.
The Myanmar military has defended seizing power, pointing to fraud allegations around last November's general election, won by the NLD.