Myanmar fireworks show quiet as clashes escalate | Guardian Nigeria News

Brightly patterned hot air balloons emitting fireworks soared into the night sky in Myanmar’s Shan state as the much-loved festival returns, but crowds swell as violent clashes spread across the country. I stayed away from this military supported event.

On Tuesday, the Tazawundain festival resumed in Taunggyi city after a three-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic and unrest after the military seized power in 2021.

The usually raucous event involves teams loading firework batteries into homemade hot air balloons, and judges judge both the design of the contraption and the brilliance of the aerial explosions.

But this year’s military-controlled celebrations were quiet, with revelers kept away and security personnel heavily deployed as the junta battles coordinated attacks across the country.

Masked soldiers stood guard next to a signal-jamming truck, and the shadows of other soldiers standing guard on the surrounding hills loomed in the evening sky.

A convoy of four-wheel-drive vehicles transported local dignitaries, some accompanied by pro-military militia bodyguards, to the stage, where they watched hundreds of students and university students perform synchronized dance moves.

In the spectator area on the other side of the fence, usually filled with revelers, people were seated on blankets in small scattered groups.

“There aren’t many people coming this year,” said Nu Nu Sein, 70.

“I’m really sorry. More people should come here.”

Flying a balloon requires teamwork and daring.

Team members lift a heavy canvas balloon and hold a burning torch underneath it to inflate it.

Once the balloon is filled with hot air, attach a crate filled with fireworks and light the fuse to release the balloon.

The payload is timed to be launched once the balloon reaches a safe height, but in the past, launches that were mistimed have resulted in injuries and deaths.

On Tuesday, teams beat drums and cymbals as they launched balloons into the sky, the din competing with dance music blaring from a nearby amusement park.

Win Aung, 54, said she enjoyed the event despite the small crowd.

“We’ve got to do it with the guys here,” he said after the team released the balloon.

“I really enjoy playing with gunpowder…I can’t wait for this festival to come.”

– Intensity of battle –
The rock band on stage belted out old favorites, including a heartbreaking number about beautiful Shan women selling local delicacies on the road to the Chinese border town of Muse.

That path was cut off by attacks launched last month by an armed alliance of ethnic minorities across northern Shan State.

The move hampers the junta’s ability to send reinforcements to tackle the offensive, which has captured cross-border trading posts and dozens of military outposts.

Muse previously handled a significant share of border trade with China, Myanmar’s biggest trading partner, but the recent blockade has left it unable to access the cash-strapped junta’s taxes and foreign exchange.

In recent days, military-controlled media outlets have published notices denying gasoline shortages and restrictions on bank withdrawals.

Global New Light of Myanmar on Wednesday refuted “false news” that young people are being forced from the streets to work as porters for the military.

Clashes in the north have galvanized other forces opposed to the junta to launch attacks in the east and west of the country, which analysts say is the military leadership’s biggest challenge since it seized power. claims.

On Tuesday, the military and anti-coup fighters announced they were fighting for control of the eastern provincial capital.

Anti-coup fighters also launched drone attacks on two airports in the northern Sagaing region, hundreds of kilometers from Kayah, junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun said.

“I’m also scared to come here,” Nu Nu Sein said at the Taunggyi ground.

“I was told not to go to crowded places.”

“I want everyone to be peaceful and happy. I hope no one has to face a situation like this.”


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