Backchat: #SAVEMYANMAR & The Myanmar Diaspora
April 14th 2021
Despite the heavy rain, hundreds of people gathered at Sydney’s Townhall on 14 March to protest against the violent military coup in Myanmar, calling on the Australian government to cut ties with the Myanmar military junta. Backchat’s Rebekah Manibog reports.
Protestors in Sydney included members of the Myanmar community, saying they wanted to show solidarity and support to those in Myanmar.
“They’re facing guns, bullets and tear gas but we’re worried about the rain? No, we’re not gonna pull it off! We’re gonna do this.”
Since 1 February, Myanmar has been turmoil following the arrest of Aung Sun Suu Kyi and other members of the NLD by the Myanmar military on allegations of voter fraud in the recent election. The daily protests, strikes and civil disobedience on the streets has been met with violent backlash from its military, with the death toll passing 700.
As the death toll continues to grow, there has been an outcry for help to the United Nations (UN) on social media.
Amongst the calls on social media platforms are graphic videos, stories of missing bodies, police brutality, and house raids without warrants. Several victims include young children and university students.
Emma and Reina* of NextGenMyanmar have worked countless hours to spread awareness about the horrors occurring in Myanmar via the hashtag #SaveMyanmar.
“It’s a warzone, but only one side has the guns and only one side has the ability to attack the other.” explains Emma.
“When this coup happened, we saw that there wasn’t much action happening and there wasn’t enough awareness so we decided to get together to start doing things ourselves. It’s been a great way to be connected with the Burmese community in this time and support each other as this is an issue that affects a lot of people”
During the protest held in Sydney, many people spoke out on how those who have fallen during the coup were ordinary students. Daniel* is a student in Myanmar protesting against the military. He writes:
“After the first of February, everything went upside down. One day we were students doing TikTok and playing games, the next day we’re fighting…We are fighting for our vote and our independence.”
Emma and Reina expressed their hopes for the Myanmar people and continue to show their support through the organisation they have built for their community.
“Even in the community in Australia and America, we really need to be wary about what’s happening and really speak up about it and raise it with our members of Parliament.”
Listen to Backchat’s whole interview with NextGenMyanmar above. To find out more how you can help the Myanmar community, follow these petitions and donation links. You can also visit “The Dirty List” of businesses that are funding the Myanmar military.
*Names have been changed within this article to protect the identities of participants within the interview.