10 minutes allowed for protest against Myanmar coup in Thailand

Thais and Myanmarese gathered at the front of the Myanmar Embassy to Thailand on the night of 4 February to express their solidarity with the anti-coup protests being staged in Myanmar. The police allowed them only 10 minutes. 

A protester raising poster of Aung San Suu Kyi.

The activity in front of the Embassy was named ‘Light Up Myanmar’, a metaphor of their action in projecting lights onto the Embassy to find a way out of the political darkness.

Posters of Min Aung Hlaing, the leader of the Tawmadaw, who overthrew the elected government just on Monday, were brought by protesters to tear up and burn. A photo of a tyrannosaurus was merged with a photo of the Tatmadaw leader.

Thaw Chit, a restaurant employee from Myanmar, also attended the protest. She said she felt surprised and awful after hearing the news of the coup. People feel like they are losing their future because they have entrusted their future in the hands of Aung San Suu Kyi. But when people saw Myanmar moving forward, it all disappeared.

“From the military government to the Aung San Suu Kyi government, the country has progressed a lot. Anyone can see. The people all chose Aung San Suu Kyi. No one chose that soldier. But only the people's voice may be of no help. Everyone in the world must help us, please,” said Thaw Chit.

Min Tze, 32, a sales person, said she does not feel good about the coup. It is unacceptable. She moved to Thailand during the time when the military ruled Myanmar in order to find better economic opportunities. She then returned to Myanmar after the NLD won the election and found that her hometown had changed a lot in a better way.

A poster of Min Aung Hlaing burned at the protest.

She fears that the situation will reverse back to the past under military rule.

At 19.00, an hour prior to the starting time, police officers set up fences in front of the Embassy. No crowd control police were seen until the end of the activity.

People started to gather at 19.40 when police officers could be heard repeatedly warning the people and media to stay on the footpath. The activity started at 20.00 and ended at 20.10, when the police could be heard hastily and repeatedly telling people to return home. 

However, the protesters lingered and sang "We shall not surrender until the end of the world", the landmark protest song sung during the mass protests in Myanmar in 1988. They also chanted anti-junta slogans, demanding Aung San Suu Kyi be released, before dispersing at 20.20.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that on the same night, over 100 people gathered at the front of Myanmar Consulate in Chiang Mai, staging an activity similar to the one in Bangkok. 

There, people could be seen banging cooking utensils, an act believed in Myanmar to drive away bad things. Police then warned that this action violates the law and asked the people to disperse. The protesters then dispersed at 20.20.



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