Myanmar protesters jump into rubber tubs to get across peace message

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(Reuters) - Anti-coup demonstrators in Myanmar sat in inflatable tubs lined up in a street in the commercial capital Yangon on Wednesday in an effort to show their peaceful intent after the worst day of violence since last week’s military takeover.

A few dozen protesters sat slumped in the colourful, beach-themed inflatable pools - some featuring cartoon images of crabs and fish - outside the Japanese embassy. Some held placards denouncing the overthrow of Aung San Suu Kyi’s government and mocking junta leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

One sign said: “We asked for democracy, not armed robbery”, while another said “We are peacefully protesting”.

Tension flared on Tuesday during protests in Mandalay and Naypyitaw as riot police used water cannon and fired gunshots to disperse crowds, with some demonstrators seen hurling stones and bottles.

Wednesday’s rally called on Japan, a big investor in Myanmar, to maintain its support for the deposed government and stand with the people.

“We Myanmar people know the fact that Japan has supported various democratic developments in Myanmar since the 1960s,” said protester Kyaw Min.

“We ask the people of Japan and other countries to not ignore, and support the release of our leaders and restoration of our democracy,” he said.

Giant pool ducks and other inflatable objects have also become a feature of anti-government protests in neighbouring Thailand.

Protesters in Myanmar took to the streets for a fifth day on Wednesday, with thousands demonstrating in main cities and government workers marching in support for a growing civil disobedience campaign.

Reporting by Reuters Staff; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Angus MacSwan