Hundreds turned out on Friday morning and laid flowers in public places to remember victims of a brutal crackdown by the country’s military junta.
Protesters have been placing floral tributes at locations where security forces have killed demonstrators, as well as other public spots, to remember the hundreds who have died since the February 1 coup.
What’s the idea behind the flower strikes?
Organizers had called for tributes to be laid at pubic places in memory of “heroes who can’t come home.”
The Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group, which is tracking casualties and detentions, says some 543 people have been killed so far in unrest since the army takeover.
The non-governmental organization Save the Children says more than 40 children have died in the military crackdown.
“Fallen, but not forgotten. Rest in power to all our sisters and brothers,” one protester — sharing images of flowers at a bus stop — wrote on social media.
Some taking part in the protest held roses aloft while making three-finger salutes, a symbol of resistance.
One arrangement of dandelions and red roses by a lake simply read: “Myanmar is bleeding,” a message that was also carried on many signs.
Preparations for online blackout
Telecommunications companies say the military has further restricted the internet, largely blocking access on a nightly basis for the past weeks.
“In the following days, there are street protests. Do as many guerrilla strikes as you can. Please join,” protest leader Khin Sadar posted on Facebook in anticipation of an internet blackout.
Groups have circulated apps that allow individuals to follow what is happening across the country while offline.
Earlier, the UN Security Council had condemned the use of violence against protesters amid ongoing unrest in Myanmar.
After the junta’s arrest of the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi last week, it proclaimed a state of emergency lasting a year. It had promised to hold fresh elections, but with no precise offer of a timeframe.
Civil war feared
Concerns are rising that Myanmar may be sliding towards civil war, due to the severity of the military crackdown and the formation by some anti-coup groups of local militias.
Tom Andrews, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Myanmar told DW that the use of militias would be a “grave mistake” which could “jeopardize many, many, many more lives” while “giving the junta an excuse to broaden its range of hellfire on innocent protesters.”
Myanmar, a former British colony then known as Burma, was under military rule for five decades following a 1962 coup. While Suu Kyi’s five years as the nation’s effective leader have represented a brief period of relative democracy, the country’s authorities have continued to apply repressive colonial-era laws and engage in ethnic conflict.
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