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Sun Apr 4, 2021, 10:01 PM

BBC - The Myanmar beauty queen standing up to the military

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-56602683



Speeches by beauty pageant contestants rarely make headlines. But when Han Lay, Miss Grand Myanmar, spoke out last week against alleged atrocities committed by her country's military, her speech turned heads. "Today in my country Myanmar ... there are so many people dying," she said at the Miss Grand International 2020 event in Thailand. "Please help Myanmar. We need your urgent international help right now." A little over a month ago, Han Lay, who is 22, was on the streets of Yangon, Myanmar's largest city, protesting against the military.



The unrest in Myanmar began two months ago when the military seized control of the country, undoing a democratic election in which Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party won by a landslide. When tens of thousands of people took to the streets nationwide to protest the coup, the military used water cannon to disperse them. After a week, the response escalated to rubber bullets and then live ammunition. The deadliest day of the conflict came last Saturday, when more than 100 people were killed. A local monitoring group puts the overall death toll at more than 500. According to Save the Children, 43 of those killed were children.

Han Lay, a psychology student at the University of Yangon, decided to use the pageant as a platform to speak out about her homeland on an international stage. "In Myanmar, journalists are detained ... so I decided to speak out," she told the BBC in a phone interview from Bangkok. She is concerned now that her two-minute speech could have put her on the radar of the military. She said she had decided to stay put in Thailand for at least the next three months.



Han Lay said she knew before she left for Thailand that she would be potentially putting herself at risk and would need to stay there for a while. "I am so worried about my family and my security because I spoke out a lot about the military and the situation in Myanmar. In Myanmar everyone knows there are limits on speaking out about what is happening," she said. "My friends told me to not come back to Myanmar." Her fears are not unfounded. Security forces issued arrest warrants last week for 18 celebrities, social media "influencers" and two journalists under a law against material "intended to cause a member of the armed forces to mutiny or disregard their duty", state media reported. All of them had spoken out against the coup.



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Miss Grand Myanmar 2020 (Han Lay) | Speech For Her Country

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Celerity Apr 4 OP
HUAJIAO Apr 4 #1
Iggo Apr 5 #2

Response to Celerity (Original post)

Sun Apr 4, 2021, 10:27 PM

1. I hope her family is safe...

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Mon Apr 5, 2021, 12:39 AM

2. Yikes.(n/t)

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