'I hate military coup more than Man United!' Myanmar's Liverpool fans lead protest with bizarre placards against military coup
Despite the military attempting to crack down on mass gatherings, Friday saw the biggest protests so far as 100,000 pro-democracy demonstrators filled the streets in the country's largest city Yangon.
Among them are football fans united in their love of Premier League club Liverpool and their hatred for the military, who have garnered attention for carrying placards displaying their witty, heartfelt, and downright bizarre messages of discontent.
Wearing their replica jerseys and anti-Covid masks and led by fans waving a large flag with the team's famous crest, each had a message they wanted to share with the world through the beautiful game.
"Liverpool stole my heart but the military stole the democracy," read one home-made placard.
"I am Liverpool fan, I believe military can walk out ALONE," another read, in a nod to the club's famous You'll Never Walk Alone anthem.
Some mocked-up a video assistant refereeing decisions to read "VAR decision: reject the military", and another quipped "we thought VAR was a joke but the military is the real joke".
"I hate the coup more than I hate Man United" was perhaps the most relatable to Liverpool fans anywhere in the world.
I didn't realise it was that bad in Myanmarpic.twitter.com/Y9VSbX5pIf— Troll Football (@TrollFootball) February 12, 2021
Fans of the Anfield outfit were joined by Myanmar supporters of fellow Premier League clubs and rivals Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester United, who set aside their differences in favour of joining in their displeasure at the military.
Myanmar fandom of Manchester United,Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea,Arsenal,Tottenham Hotspur, England Premier League football teams join the protesting against the military coup in Myanmar 🇲🇲FREE OUR LEADER #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar#Feb12Couppic.twitter.com/3awiqgo8Iu— Pray For Myanmar 🇲🇲 (@AugieSwift) February 12, 2021
The UN reports 350 people of the country's elite have been arrested since the military removed leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1.
The US has consequently placed sanctions against military leaders including top military commander Min Aung Hlaing and his deputy Soe Win.
Despite the peaceful protests, three people were shot with rubber bullets and one 19-year-old woman is expected to succumb to her injuries after being shot in the head with a live round of ammunition by police in the capital Naypyitaw.
As well as targeting Min Aung Hlaing Soe Win, and four members of the State Administration Council with sanctions, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order allowing the US Treasury to target military leaders and also their spouses and adult children on Friday.
“As a part of today’s action, Treasury is designating 10 current and former military officials responsible for the February 1, 2021 coup or associated with the Burmese military regime,” the US Treasury said in a statement announcing the sanctions.