On Saturday, supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar and around the world wore flowers to defy the Myanmar military and mark the 76th birthday of deposed State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, who has remained behind bars since the Myanmar military took power on Feb. 1.
Suu Kyi is facing multiple politically-motivated charges, including corruption, violating COVID-19 restrictions, and breaking national security and import laws. If convicted, she may be imprisoned for life.
On Monday, Suu Kyi’s lawyer Khin Maung Zaw told reporters that she was grateful for the birthday wishes after she appeared in a scheduled court hearing, according to AFP.
Let’s stage flower strike tomorrow for our leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday. Let flowers blossom everywhere in defiance of dictatorship. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar#FlowerStrike pic.twitter.com/vaqJ1YWfHV
— Civil Disobedience Movement (@cvdom2021) June 18, 2021
Thousands from Myanmar, Nigeria, Indonesia, the UK, Ukraine, Colombia, and Bangladesh also participated in the #RedLipsSpeakTruthtoPower campaign organized by the #Sisters2Sisters Movement, in a show of global feminist solidarity with the ongoing pro-democracy movement in Myanmar.
In a press statement, Thinzar Shunlei Yi, founder of the #Sisters2Sisters movement, highlighted how we must rely on global networks of solidarity to fight against authoritarian regimes.
“In just the past year, women in Myanmar, Belarus, Colombia, Palestine and Nigeria have faced repression, persecution, and imprisonment for their leadership and their protest of authoritarian rule. The determination of these women and our collective goal to raise and hold their perpetrators to account is at the heart of the Red Lips Speak Truth to Power Campaign,” Yi said in a statement.
Press Statement : RED LIPS SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER
Our struggles remain the same. Thus, our solidarity across countries under authoritarian regimes is only to get stronger.
— Thinzar Shunlei Yi (@thinzashunleiyi) June 19, 2021
1/3: More @FAMMIndonesia pictures of #solidarity! Women of FAMM Indonesia wore red lipstick & raised a three-finger salute to freedom to show their solidarity with Myanmar women! #RedLipsSpeakTruthToPower #Sisters2Sisters#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar pic.twitter.com/FdBjAqb8X1
— JASS Southeast Asia (@JASSSEA) June 20, 2021
“To me, [the] #Sisters2Sisters campaign highlights the fighting spirit of Myanmar women, not just those from the Spring Revolution but also those from marginalized communities who had historically fought against the regime,” #Sisters2Sisters organizer Kant Kaw told Coconuts Yangon.
June 19 falls on both Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday and the UN-designated International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. #Sisters2Sisters organizers said they wanted to focus on the struggles of political prisoners, especially victims of sexual violence and said that the date was merely a coincidence.
However, some participated in both campaigns at the same time, donning red lipstick and carrying a flower in their hair or their hands in a show of solidarity with victims of sexual violence as well as a celebration of Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday, who remains a popular figure in the democracy movement.
To raise awareness about sexual violence and exploitation happening towards women in prison by the Myanmar terrorist military, I am participating in #RedLipsSpeakTruthToPower campaign. Support from a sister to sisters.
A flower for Daw Aung San Su Kyi's birthday flower strike pic.twitter.com/dhK33vvbxf
— Mayko Montun (@maykomontun) June 19, 2021
— Daphne (@DaphneHatake) June 19, 2021
— Phyoat Chaz (@PhyoatC) June 19, 2021
Men were also encouraged to participate in the #Brothers2Sisters campaign by wearing red lipstick to show support for their imprisoned sisters in Myanmar.
“S2S had always hoped [for the] #RedLipstickCampaign to transcend gender boundaries. Red lipstick makes everyone look so pretty,” Kant Kaw added.
Protestors took to the streets across Myanmar carrying flowers in direct defiance to the military junta. Some were arrested for staging peaceful protests calling for the end of military rule. In one case, restaurant workers were arrested for handing flowers to customers.
As Aung San Suu Kyi turns 76 on Saturday, pro-democracy supporters mark the “Flower Strike” on her birthday. The move is both an homage to the detained leader's signature style, and to the Burmese saying 'still wearing flowers,' meaning to be defiant in the face of adversity. pic.twitter.com/IUcbDAMtB7
— Myanmar Now (@Myanmar_Now_Eng) June 19, 2021
‘’Gun ကိုင်တဲ့သူတွေက ပန်းပန်တဲ့သူတွေကိုကြောက်နေတာလား’’- ‘’Are the armed security forces afraid of the flowers wearing unarmed civilians?’’ – that’s what friends talking on social media about the arrest of people wearing flowers for #76FlowerStrike today.#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar
— Cape Diamond (@cape_diamond) June 19, 2021
Today, Owner and 12 staffs of Cafè99 in #PyinOoLwin are arrested for giving out flowers to the customers despite the claims of this act being simply for Café Owner's birthday celebration. Gun holders are afraid of flowers??? Pathetic! #June19Coup#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar pic.twitter.com/G4tXSwCARQ
— Leetaeyong's Kmkz (@Leetaeyong_kmkz) June 19, 2021
For the reason of wearing flowers on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday , SAC terrorists forcibly abducted two girls today, in Sanchaung township, Yangon.
— Nitrous oxide 💤 (@OliviaChan777) June 19, 2021