Some people participated in the flower campaign on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s Birthday were arrested; Robbery of a gold shop in Yangon

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – June 19 Scenes

MoeMaKa, June 20, 2023

Some people participated in the flower campaign on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s Birthday were arrested; Robbery of a gold shop in Yangon


Protest groups in cities used social media platforms to encourage the public to participate in activities for the flower campaign, such as wearing flowers and offering flowers to Buddha on the 78th birthday of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on June 19. On June 19, military council troops arrested people who wear flowers in public areas and who bought flowers to offer them to Buddha on suspicion of participating in the strike movement. According to news reports, at least a dozen people were arrested in Yangon and some in the town of Kale in Sagaing. People from other countries would think it ridiculous if they heard that people were arrested by the military council merely for wearing flowers or buying flowers to offer at the pagoda according to Buddhism. However, the actual events in Myanmar are more symbolic than funny, as they demonstrate continuous resistance to the military’s usurpation of power and not giving up.


In Myanmar politics, many such symbolic political movements took place in the 1990s and 2000s. From 2011 to the end of 2020, people have been allowed to conduct open political activities. In 2021, when the military seized power again, the people started showing their opposition to and rejection of the military’s participation in politics, the military’s control of political power, and military rule as in the previous military regime.


In the period before 2010, movements praying for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s release, celebrating Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday, etc. were considered political defiance of the junta, and participants were arrested and imprisoned.


Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday was freely celebrated as a safe event, including as the State Counselor’s birthday, for almost a decade from 2011 to 2020. Since June 2021, the celebration has turned into a political defiance movement, like in the past.


The shape of the birthday movement that has re-emerged now is seen as a stance against the military coup and the seizure of political power rather than a movement to free Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.


Even though Aung San Suu Kyi’s release and dialogue were political slogans before 2010, now, in the birthday movement, liberation is relevant, the slogan of dialogue is no longer heard, and only the slogans of the complete elimination of the military dictatorship and the army are relevant.


The political goals and activities of the 1990s-2000s and 2021 onwards have become very different from the goals before 2010. It can be said that the Myanmar people’s opposition to the military council is as strong as the revolution against Japan in the period of Japanese occupation.


Another piece of news for today is an incident in which armed men robbed a gold shop on a crowded street in North Okkalapa Township in Yangon in the afternoon.


On the evening of June 18, a gold shop opened on Maydhawi Street, (I) Ward, North Okkalapa Township, Yangon, was robbed by some armed men on motorcycles. Security camera footage showed the security guard of the shop trying to arrest robbers at the exit of the gold shop, and also, the man who was waiting outside tried to shoot and arrest those who were trying to run away with the robbed gold items.


The frequent robberies and killings in cities like Yangon and Mandalay, which are controlled by the military council, can be said to be because of the easy purchase of guns, but on the other hand, it proves that law and order cannot be implemented without the participation of the people. At the same time, the public is also suffering from lawlessness, political oppression, and arrests.


There have been many robberies of gold shops and banks in the past two years in Yangon, Mandalay, and Monywa. There are cases where the military council announced that the robbers had been arrested, and there were many incidents where the perpetrators were not arrested. It is not clear whether those arrested are real perpetrators, or whether they are being held hostage for political use.


At a time when it is difficult to confirm information, the lack of rule of law by the military council proves that they cannot govern the country properly, but on the other hand, it is difficult to say whether the public is being imprinted with the logic that only the ruling armed group is to be depended upon when there is a lot of crime occurring.