Protesters march during a demonstration against the military coup in Dawei.
Protesters march during a demonstration against the military coup in Dawei.
AFP

Yangon: Myanmar's ruling junta stepped up its campaign against celebrities who support nationwide protests against its seizure of power, publishing wanted lists in the state press and warning against using their work.

The move follows weeks of escalating violence by security forces in breaking up street protests against the February 1 coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

At least 564 protesters and bystanders have been killed since the takeover, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which monitors casualties and arrests.

The coup reversed the country's gradual return to democracy after five decades of military rule.

The lists published Sunday and Monday in the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper include actors, actresses, musicians and social media influencers charged with violating Section 505(A) of the Penal Code for "spreading news to affect state stability." The penalty for the offense is up to three years' imprisonment.

A chart filling most of a page lists 20 people, along with photos, hometowns and Facebook pages of each.

Several actors and directors were also charged in February, but the campaign against celebrity protest supporters was stepped up last week when army-controlled Myawaddy TV broadcast a wanted list.

There are now at least 60 people on such lists.

May Toe Khine, who describes herself in her Twitter profile as "Full Time Burmese Actress / Part Time Fashion Designer Student," tweeted after the TV announcement that her arrest warrant was "for simply doing my job as a civilian: using my platform to speak out the truth." "Please always pay attention to news in Myanmar until we win," she wrote.

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