Students and activists from many parts of the world have been expressing their support to Myanmar student protesters who were brutally attacked by government forces last week.
The Facebook page ‘We Support Myanmar Students’ encourages everyone to show solidarity to Myanmar students by submitting photos or by organizing support activities. At present, more than 20,000 have liked the page.
Student protesters in the former capital Yangon were harassed and beaten by the police on March 5. Five days later, a student rally in the town of Letpadan was also dispersed by the police. More than 100 rally participants were detained, including monks and some journalists, although several were already released.
Myanmar students from various parts of the country have been protesting the passage of the National Education Law which was introduced by the government last year. According to them, the law will suppress academic freedom as it will centralize more authority in the hands of the military-backed civilian government.
A 400-mile march from Mandalay to Yangon was organized last January and it was supposed to reach its destination early this month but it was blocked by government forces. Instead of allowing the students to peacefully conclude the march, the police decided to break-up the rally. Many quickly condemned the use of violence by the police to stop the rally.
Support for the protesting students also came from other countries. Through Facebook and Twitter, students and activists are using the hashtag #wearemmstudents to show solidarity to the student protesters, especially those who are still in detention. Below are some of the photos featured on the Facebook page ‘We Support Myanmar Students’.
The Panzagar group, which launched the flower speech campaign to counter online hate speech, also began promoting the white flower symbol on Facebook and other social networks to condemn violence in society.
Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern about the reported “excessive and disproportionate” use of force against the protestors. In response, the government vowed to probe the incident.