Anti-coup protesters in Myanmar are hanging women's clothes across the streets to stall the advance of the military, in yet another creative way of protest people in the country are using to assert their defiance against the junta.
Traditional belief that it's bad luck to pass under women's longyis
In Myanmar, it is considered bad luck for men to walk under women's undergarments and long skirts, known as longyis, a protester told Reuters.
"The reason why we hang the longyis across the streets is that we have the traditional belief that if we pass underneath a longyi, we might lose our luck," the unnamed protester said.
"The younger generation nowadays doesn’t believe it anymore, but the soldiers still do, and it’s their weakness. So, we might gain more time to run if they come towards us in case of emergency."
It is also traditionally believed in Myanmar that it is emasculating for men to walk under items used to cover women's private parts.
Some soldiers seen taking them down before passing through
Al Jazeera journalist Hnin Zaw shared in a tweet that the soldiers were seen taking the longyis down before passing through, as though they were buying into the superstition that the clothing would bring bad luck.
The Tadmadaw,is very much misogynistic, regard women as below them. Protestors hanged women sarongs [htamein] adding safety to their fortresses, soldiers seen taking them down before they pass through as they afraid it would bring their luck down. #WhatsHappeninginMyanmar pic.twitter.com/g16ARCmJxy— Hnin Zaw (@hninyadanazaw) March 4, 2021
Besides underwear, some women included sanitary pads -- some appeared to be soiled -- in the fabric fortresses too.
To get ready for International Women's Day on Monday, Mar. 8, they raised flags made from undergarments too.
Here we see more of womens longyi (htamein) underwears and pads seen everywhere again on Friday for misogynistic Myanmar military, protestors are also calling for a “ Htamein Flags March”on coming Monday. #WhatishappeninginMyamar pic.twitter.com/F3TiG6MvQd— Hnin Zaw (@hninyadanazaw) March 5, 2021
These fabric fortresses were just one of the many ways protesters have devised to stop armed forces from advancing into their towns and cities, with some demonstrators even utilising large PVC pipes for this purpose.
People’s fortresses are evolving day by day. I am now hearing security forces in Yangon are still unable to remove those huge PVC pipes and unable to reach to thousands protestors onward. #whatshappeninginMyanmar pic.twitter.com/2jF1Us1Qel— Hnin Zaw (@hninyadanazaw) March 4, 2021
Did not stop tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades from coming
However, the lines of longyi did not stop police from using tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades against the protesters.
Reuters reported that some protesters have been killed by live bullets as well.
On Feb. 1, 2021, the military detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other civilian leaders from the National League for Democracy (NLD), amid claims of election fraud after the NLD won the country's election by a landslide in November 2020.
Since the military took over leadership in the country, widespread protests against the coup have been ongoing, with little sign of abating.
Top image via Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images, Kyaw Hnin Thet/Twitter