Protesters wear flowers to mark Suu Kyi’s birthday


Floral wish: A woman making the three-finger salute and showing the flowers on her hair as part of a social media campaign to mark Suu Kyi’s birthday. — AFP

Anti-coup protesters donned flowers in their hair to mark the birthday of ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains under house arrest and is due to face court again next week.

Suu Kyi’s elected government was overthrown in a Feb 1 coup that sparked mass protests and renewed clashes between the military and ethnic rebel armies in border regions.

Flowers tucked into a bun have long been a signature look of Suu Kyi, who turned 76 yesterday.

Many replicated the floral hairstyle and uploaded pictures onto social media across Myanmar for the occasion.

Among them was Myanmar Miss Universe beauty queen Thuzar Wint Lwin, who wore red flowers in her hair and wrote: “May our leader be healthy.”

In Yangon’s north, protesters put up posters on power lines wishing Suu Kyi a happy birthday and expressing solidarity.

“Happy Birthday Mother Suu. We are right behind you,” the signs read.

Some marched with black umbrellas and banners that read “freedom from fear” alongside pictures of Suu Kyi.

In the border region of Karen state, some rebel soldiers were photographed holding their guns and yellow, white and purple posies, as well as single flowers tucked behind their ears.

Demonstrators in the south-eastern city of Dawei made a giant pink birthday cake and brought it to their street protest.

The Noble Peace Prize Laureate’s international reputation was damaged after she defended Myanmar’s military over allegations of genocide against the ethnic minority Rohingya population in troubled Rakhine state in 2017.

Not all Myanmar flower protest participants were full of praise for Suu Kyi.

“I am involved in this campaign because now she is unfairly detained by the military and her civilian rights... and freedom is denied,” a 35-year-old activist said, adding that it was not personal support.

“After she is free from her detention, she will have to take full responsibility over her silence concerning the suffering of Rohingya and other ethnic groups.”

Suu Kyi is due back in court next week.

She went on trial for sedition on Tuesday. — AFP

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