‘Flower strike’ in Myanmar to commemorate those killed in crackdown

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Protesters hold a banner they march during a demonstration against the military coup in Myanmar that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. Ousted democratic leaders in Myanmar have said they are rescinding the country's 2008 constitution, which gave significant power to the armed forces. Photo: Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Wire/dpa
Protesters hold a banner they march during a demonstration against the military coup in Myanmar that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. Ousted democratic leaders in Myanmar have said they are rescinding the country's 2008 constitution, which gave significant power to the armed forces. Photo: Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Wire/dpa

(dpa) – Hundreds of people in Myanmar laid flowers in public places on Friday in memory of the victims of the violent military clampdown following the February coup.

Organizers called for a “flower strike” saying these should be laid in places such as parks and bus stops in remembrance of “heroes who can’t come back home.”

Many people in Yangon went to parks and bus stops to lay flowers in tribute.

The words “Myanmar bleeds” were written in flowers on a large sign in Yangon.

“Fallen, but not forgotten. Rest in power to all our sisters and brothers,” one protester wrote on social media, sharing images of flowers at a bus stop.

The flowers are being placed in honour of fallen souls across the country, protester Kyaw Zin told dpa. He said further protests against the junta were planned.

After civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD won a clear majority in elections last November, the military staged a coup, arguing the election had been rigged. Suu Kyi was arrested and has since then been imprisoned.

The military has violently cracked down on the ensuing protests. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a non-profit, at least 543 people have been killed by military forces since the coup.

The victims include more than 40 children, according to Save the Children non-governmental organization.

Telecommunications companies reported that the military had further restricted the internet, with access having largely been blocked on a nightly basis for the past weeks. There have also recently been restrictions during the day.

Activists have circulated apps allowing people to keep following developments offline.

Peaceful protests continue in cities throughout the country including in the regions of Mandalay, Magway, Bago and Sagaing and Kayah state.

Political analyst Richard Horsey said there was a risk of state collapse, in a comment for Crisis Group, a non-governmental organization. “Regime shows no sign of wanting to get out of crisis. Outside world has limited leverage, but must impose arms embargoes, sanctions on military, and prepare for huge humanitarian/development needs,” he tweeted.

Earlier, the UN Security Council (UNSC) condemned the use of violence against protesters amid ongoing violence in Myanmar.

“The Members of the Security Council expressed deep concern at the rapidly deteriorating situation, and strongly condemned the use of violence against peaceful protestors and the deaths of hundreds of civilians, including women and children,” said the most powerful United Nations body on Thursday.

The council reiterated a call for the Myanmar military to “exercise outmost restraint” and for the release of Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.

The opinion of the 15-member committee is unlikely to affect the escalating situation in Myanmar.

According to diplomats, China in particular resisted stronger wording.

The UNSC has met several times in light of the excessive use of force against protesters across Myanmar since the military overthrew the government in early February.

Violence at the hands of the military junta reached a peak last weekend with nationwide protests resulting in more than 100 people dead.

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