Activists from the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society’s women’s wing and other women’s rights organisations led a march through Rangoon on Sunday to mark International Peace Day.
The activists gathered early at a football pitch near the Mya Yeik Nyo Hotel. Many arrived wearing sky blue shirts, the colour of UN peacekeepers, and sported bandanas and placards reading slogans such as “No War” and “Equal Rights for Women!” Others invoked messages calling for the Burmese government to recognise ethnic rights and urging the establishment of a federal union.
The marchers, said to number several hundred persons from a range of backgrounds, made their way to Rangoon’s central park at Kandawgyi Lake, all the while chanting slogans and waving banners and placards. No arrests or incidents were reported.
Another group of civil activists organised a peace march at Rangoon’s Hledan overpass and another at Kyeikkasan Pagoda Road.
Peace Day marches led by women’s groups were also held in other towns around the country. In Bassein [Pathein] at least 100 turned out to mark the occasion, while some 700 marchers took to the streets in Sittwe, capital of Arakan State.
International Peace Day has been observed on 21 September since 1981, when the date was marked by a resolution of the United Nations’ General Assembly. The annual event is intended “to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace,” the UN says.