Youth activists launch jasmine campaign

Dec 22, 2008 (DVB), A group of young people in Rangoon is planning a two-week campaign encouraging people to wear or display jasmine flowers to show support for political prisoners and opposition to the military regime.

According to one of the campaign leaders, who did not wish to be identified, jasmine was chosen as the symbol for the campaign because the Burmese word for jasmine can also mean the removal of the reigning powers.

"The campaign will start on Tuesday and will last two weeks," the youth activist said.

"The purpose of the campaign is to do something that is easy for the public to join in with and to make young people more daring."

The group hopes the public will join the campaign by wearing jasmine flowers, giving them as offerings at pagodas or displaying them in their homes.

The campaign leaders said the authorities could not legally arrest people for wearing, displaying or offering jasmine because it is part of Burmese tradition.

In November 2007, students at Rangoon Eastern University who wore black as a sign of mourning for those killed in the September protests were ordered to discontinue their campaign and sign an agreement promising not to wear black in future.

At about the same time, students at Prome University in Bago were not allowed on the university campus if they were wearing black.

The 88 generation students' White Sunday campaign, also in 2007, in which participants wore white shirts and visited the homes of political prisoners, also met with official resistance, and many of those involved were later arrested.

Reporting by DVB

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