White armband campaign launched

20 March 2015
White armband campaign launched
White armband campaign gets underway in Yangon March 13, 2015. Photo: Hein Htet/Mizzima

A white armband campaign was launched on March 19 in Yangon and another 19 townships as a protest against the government’s violent crackdown on student protestors.
In Yangon, the white armband campaign was launched at 9 am in Myaynigon, Hledan, Sanpya, Shwegondine, Thamine Junction, Insein Park, Pansodan bus-stop, Htauk Kyant Junction, Bayintnaung and Hlaingthaya.
In each area, five young campaigners handed out more than 500 white armbands.
The white armbands bear the words, “We are Students. Respect Our Rights”.
Poet Maung Saung Kha, a campaigner, said: “[The government] needs to avoid the violence like this. All citizens have lost trust in the government due to the violence. Only if the government releases the [imprisoned] students and other activists who support the students, will the government gain the trust of the citizens again.”
Similarly, the white armband campaign was conducted at 9 am in Mandalay, Pyinmana, Magway, Pyay, Bago, Letpadan, Pakokku, Pathein, Bogalay, Kyaukpadaung, Dawei, Myeik, Yayphyu, Launglon, Dike-Oo, Kyaukse, Hpa-An, Taungdwingyi and Myinchan. In those townships, more than 10,000 white armbands were distributed.
Poet Mya Yeik Hmaw, a campaigner who participated in the campaign conducted in the Pansodan area in Yangon, said: “We put the white armbands on arms of the passers-by as a protest against the violent crackdown on students. We gave the armbands only to those willing to wear it.”
On March 5, security police and civilians wearing red armbands attacked activists and students protesting outside Yangon City Hall and eight protestors were arrested. They were released on March 6.
On March 10, police launched a violent crackdown on student protestors in Letpadan. A sympathy protest in Yangon on the same day was also subject to a violent crackdown. 
The Letpadan police action resulted in 127 protestors, including students and monks, arrested. Dozens still remain in police custody.