Lawmakers hold up the three-fingered sign to show solidarity and support for pro-democratic movments in Myanmar in front of the Myanmar Embassy in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Politicians and Burmese residents in Korea raised their voices together, pressing for the revival of democracy in Myanmar and an end to military control in the Southeast Asian nation.
A group of lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea and local representatives of Myanmar-related organizations held a press conference in front of the Myanmar Embassy in Seoul on Wednesday.
“It has been over 40 years, but Myanmar is going through the same pain that Gwangju citizens experienced in May 1980,” said Min Hyung-bae, a lawmaker of the ruling party. “The military’s barbaric bullets are being fired toward everyone.”
The lawmaker emphasized that the people of Myanmar are isolated just like the participants of the Gwangju Uprising were four decades ago. The Gwangju Uprising is one of the best-known stories of public demonstration efforts to achieve democracy against the military government in Korean history.
“For bleeding Myanmar, we have to respond to the citizens of Myanmar and their desperate call for Korea’s help,” Min said.
Participants at the event held up the three-fingered sign that has been used as a symbol of resistance and solidarity for the democratic movement in Myanmar.
“As you know, the situation in Myanmar is getting worse,” said Soe Moe Thu, president of the Myanmar Worker Welfare Center in Korea. “We are begging the international society to support Myanmar so it can set a good example of democratization and peace.”
The Burmese residents teamed up with the lawmakers because Myanmar’s Ambassador to Korea Thant Sin would not respond to their request for a meeting, a Burmese participant told The Korea Herald.
“As a citizen of Myanmar, I am really ashamed of our ambassador not speaking anything on the matter,” said Khaing Khaing Moe Htet, a Burmese YouTuber.
“This crisis has no position called middle ground. It is whether you are with the people or you side with the military regime that uses violent force against the citizens,” she added.
After the event, lawmakers held a meeting with the Myanmar ambassador to convey their message of support for democratization efforts in the Southeast Asian country.
Wednesday’s joint action came after a series of anti-coup movements in South Korea, ranging from President Moon Jae-in’s condemnation and the National Assembly’s resolution to civic groups coming together to provide donations and medical support.
Myanmar’s military detained its democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other high-profile officials in a Feb. 1 coup. The military generals have refused to recognize a landslide election victory by Suu Kyi’s party in November, claiming massive voter fraud.
Citizens of Myanmar have carried out multiple mass protests to bring back democracy, but the ongoing crisis has resulted in dozens of deaths at the hands of military and police.
The Korea Herald by Herald Corporation
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