A rally backed by the Myanmar military regime to show support for its recent executions of four democracy activists was held in Yangon on Friday morning.
The pro-execution demonstration near City Hall in Yangon’s downtown area came as a majority of Myanmar people mourn the anti-regime activists, who were hanged over the weekend. The executions were strenuously denounced at home and abroad.
The demonstration was joined by pro-regime mobs, members of the junta-proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party, and Buddhist nationalists including some monks.
It is a common propaganda tactic of the Myanmar military to organize demonstrations whenever it faces local and international condemnation. When it staged a coup in February last year, it bused thugs and USDP members downtown to create a false impression for foreign observers that the takeover had popular support.
The Friday rally was planned in advance, with the regime locking down the vicinity of City Hall hours before the demonstration and beefing up security in the area.
Prior to the rally, pro-regime mobs attacked the Yangon homes of two of the four executed men, prominent activists Ko Jimmy and Ko Zeya Thaw, denouncing the pair while trying to intimidate their grieving family members.
The junta also arrested and interrogated the mother of the youngest of the four executed activists, Ko Aung Thura Zaw, 27, for talking to the media. They also ordered the family of executed activist Ko Hla Myo Aung not to hold a funeral and to keep a low profile.
Currently, 74 political prisoners are on death row across the country. The regime has said there will be more hangings.