Myanmar has banned the sale of condoms, birth controll pills and Viagra during its New Year festivities in April. Police said the ban is aimed at cracking down on sex-related crimes during the Buddhist New Year water festival known as Thingyan, according to local media reports.

Government officials have demanded that drugstore owners sign pledges to not sell the banned items. In protest, some store owners have shut down. Anyone caught selling condoms or Viagra before the New Year festival ends on April 19 faces arrest.

"Erectile dysfunction medicine does not encourage anyone to commit a sex crime," Thiha Thit, a clinic owner in Ahlone township in Myanmar, told reporters. "Police should stop stores from selling date rape drugs instead." 

The ban is considered the toughest in Southeast Asia. Many countries celebrating the Buddhist New Year with water festivals have bans against pickup trucks loaded with water tanks or bars staying open past 11 p.m. During the imporant religious event, people splash water on passersbys and use hoses to douse people driving by in jeeps and trucks. Water guns are also popular. The water symbolizes the washing away of sins and bad luck from the previous year. 

Starting Sunday, revelers celebrating Thingyan are expected to clog major roads in Yangon to participate in the water festival. The New Year public holiday runs from April 17-21. 

"The closer we get to the city of Mandalay, and the bigger the towns we visit, the crazier the festival becomes," recalled one travel writer.

Myanmar expects 5 million visitors for the celebrations, up from 3.5 million last year.