LANSING, Mich. — A group of over 100 protesters gathered as the Michigan State Capitol today in response to the recent military coup that took place in Burma, Feb. 1.
The military regime overthrew the democratically elected government officials, detaining over 100 people according to former pro democracy activist Zo Kunga.
“A few days ago the military shot the civilians and two people were killed on the spot,” Kunga said.
Among those detained was the countries elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
“We don’t even know where she is. We pray every day. We don’t know where she is,” said protester Pakap Dwin.
The military regime ruled in what used to be called Myanmar for 50 years. In 1988, the largest military coup in the country occurred.
“The burmese people are fighting for democracy and freedom," Kunga said. "They’ve been fighting for almost 3 decades.”
Dwin said his dad was a leader in the revolution of 1988, which is why his family had to flee to India where he was raised.
“My father was one of the first students that actually invaded himself to our own state," Dwin said. "When the coup happened they took over the whole country overnight. So, we became a refugee because my dad was wanted, my mom was wanted, so we had to leave the country.”
In 2011, a democracy was elected into office, giving the people of Burma hope for the future.
“When I came here I thought Burma was free,” Dwin said.
In the Nov. 2020 election, the democracy was reelected, until the military overthrew the leaders last week. Protestor Than Oo said this brought back feelings from the past he was hoping would never happen again.
“Awful, surreal, dreaded feeling like my heart sank and we feel like we’re going back 30 years again, going back to the dark ages again," Oo said.
Now people in Burma and refugees in the United States are fighting to get their democracy back and get those people who were detained set free.
"We're hoping that the military may relent and they decide to back down, step down or negotiate. We hope that all the detained and democratically elected leaders are released as soon as possible. Hopefully the country can get back on to the democratic pathway and democracy will flourish," Oo said.
Protesters at the capitol said they would like to see President Joe Biden step in to help the people of Burma.
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