Myanmar Protests: An Open Challenge to Tyrants |

On February 1, 2021, a democratically elected government was ousted by the military in Myanmar. Aung San Suu Ki, head of the democratically elected government in Myanmar, along with other leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) were arrested by the Myanmar military. The military cited fraudulent election results as the reason behind the arrest. Since then, several protests led by pro-democracy protesters have simultaneously been carried out across the country. 

Protesters have taken various unique approaches to protest against the tyrants. Most of the protesters have resorted to non-violent and peaceful protests to avoid direct confrontation with law enforcement. The ongoing protests challenge the misogyny of deep-rooted patriarchal society in Myanmar, the rule of a tyrant, and further promote the democratic principles of the nation, ranging from freedom of free speech to the freedom to choose their leaders.

Broken-down Car 

People started to park their cars in the middle of city streets and on bridges pretending that their cars broke down to prevent the mobility of police and army trucks across the state. The pictures from the protest showing cars with bonnets raised, blocking streets went viral on the internet.

Try To Pass My Sarong 

Women from all walks of life have taken an active role in anti-coup protests. In another hilarious movement, women hung their traditional sarong, underwear, in the streets to scare the military out of their wits. And, it worked. The police would take them down before passing underneath to carry on with their duty.

The movement, also known as the Sarong Revolution by many, is based on a belief that walking beneath a woman’s clothing brings bad luck to men. The movement highlighted the ingrained gender norms that are still largely believed and followed by the patriarchal society of Myanmar.

Tattoos Are In The Season

People are getting coup-themed tattoos to protest against the junta. ‘Freedom from Fear’, and ‘Spring Revolution’ are some of the popular text-based tattoos opted by the protestors, while others have decided to ink themselves with drawings of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s face or movement’s three-finger salute.

Rubbish-filled Streets

Various pictures showing streets filled with garbage in Myanmar surfaced online in March after activists launched a ‘garbage strike’ against the junta as the toll of protestors killed by security forces crossed 500. ‘Garbage strike is a strike to oppose junta’ read a poster on social media. 

Three-finger Salute

The three-finger salute has emerged as a symbol of solidarity and resistance against the military regime. It was first used by healthcare workers in Myanmar. Soon, it was adopted as a symbol of mass protest.

But, what is a three-finger salute? The three-finger salute is known to have been borrowed from Hunger Games, an American action-packed movie (adapted from trilogy series of a novel of the same name). In the movie, Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist uses a three-finger salute as a symbol of revolution and resistance against the tyrant. The salute is quite popular among the young population around the globe. Hence, it was adopted to gain large-scale support from the international population in their fight against the military-led government.

Wear Your Flower

To mark the 76th birthday of the ousted leader, anti-coup protesters thronged streets in Myanmar as they wore a flower in their hair. Aung San Suu Kyi is often seen wearing a flower in her hair. All the protesters, irrespective of their gender, age group, and profession could be seen wearing flowers and parading on the streets. 

Tweet by matthew tostevin in support of myanmar protests

Red Ribbon Campaign

The color red is associated with National League for Democracy (NLD). The red ribbon pinned to the clothes of protesters has emerged as a common sighting in protest sites. It has been adopted as a symbol of protest against the militarization of the government. 

Since the coup, Aung San Suu Kyi, the chairperson of NLD has been detained by the military on grounds of fraudulent electoral practices. Her release has also been one of the top priorities of the protesters.

Tweet about Myanmar Military Coup on the red ribbon campaign

International organizations have condemned the military coup. In an address at the UN Human Rights Council session, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged the military-led government to release the prisoners and put an end to the violence. He continued by stating “Respect human rights and the will of the people expressed in recent elections. I welcome the resolution of the Human Rights Council, pledge to implement your request, and express my full support to the people of Myanmar in their pursuit of democracy, peace, human rights, and the rule of law.” 

The tech-savvy generation from all over the world has used the power of the internet to show solidarity for the anti-coup protestors. Various toolkits have been generated in ways that one can help the protestors. The artists have resorted to paintings, musicals, video messages to show support for the ‘Red Ribbon Revolution.' To give financial support to the protesters, various online fundraising campaigns especially those focused on crowdfunding have been created. Citizen of Burma Award Organisation Inc has started Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, a GoFundMe campaign to support Myanmar pro-democracy protesters. 

The junta continues its crackdown on protesters. According to a rights group tracking deaths and detainees in Myanmar, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, as of June, over 800 people including peaceful protesters have been killed by the junta. 

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