A handout photo made available by Yangon Revolution Force (YRF) shows a banner hanging from a bridge reading 'We Miss You' on the occasion of the 78th birthday of Aung San Suu Kyi, in Yangon, Myanmar, 19 June 2023. EFE/EPA/YANGON REVOLUTION FORCE HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

Suu Kyi’s supporters mark her 78th birthday with flowers, marches

Bangkok, Jun 19 (EFE).- Supporters of Myanmar’s ousted leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi commemorated her 78th birthday on Monday with peaceful marches and flowers.

An image made by stencil art of the three-finger salute, a symbol of resistance, painted in red on a pole in Yangon, Myanmar, 19 June 2023. EFE/EPA/STRINGER

The marches saw more people in those parts where the resistance against the military junta enjoys greater presence, especially in the rural Sagaing and Magway regions, where people came out to pray before the pagodas for the former leader.

According to local media, similar marches were held in Mandalay, the second largest city in Myanmar, and to a lesser extent in Yangon, where her supporters hung a banner with a congratulatory message on a bridge in the city.

In larger cities, subject to greater vigilance by the army, gestures of support for Suu Kyi were mostly on social networks, where people posted photos of themselves with flowers in their hair, similar to Suu Kyi.

A portrait made by stencil art of Aung San Suu Kyi next to the three-finger salute, a symbol of resistance, with the letters CDM (Civil Disobedience Movement), painted on the wall of the Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation in Yangon, Myanmar, 19 June 2023. Anti-coup groups in Myanmar have called for the public to use flowers to mark Aung San Suu Kyi’s 78th birthday on 19 June. EFE/EPA/STRINGER

Meanwhile, the People’s Defense Force, made up mostly of young people after the coup to fight the army, posted congratulatory messages for their deposed leader through images sent to the independent media The Irrawaddy.

Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her struggle for democracy in Myanmar, Suu Kyi has been sentenced to 33 in prison on being found guilty of multiple charges, including corruption and violation of the official secrets law, in closed-door trials.

Suu Kyi was also accused of electoral fraud during the 2020 elections, won by her party the National League for Democracy, which served as an excuse for the military to launch a coup on Feb.1, 2021.

All the charges have been described as politically motivated by the lawyers of Suu Kyi, who has appealed the verdicts and pleaded not guilty to all charges against her.

The international community, including the United Nations, the European Union and the United States, among others, have called for her release.

Suu Kyi, who led Myanmar’s decade of democratic transition from military rule from 2011 to 2021, is among the 20,000 political prisoners held by the military, according to the nonprofit Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

More than 3,600 people have been killed by the security forces since the coup, which has plunged Myanmar into a deep political and economic crisis, unleashing a spiral of violence that has accentuated the war with guerrilla rebels that the country has faced for decades. EFE