The voice of De Anza since 1967.

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The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

Myanmar’s silent struggle

Words from a protester turned De Anza student
Myanmar protesters in front of the army at the Yangon City Hall in 2021 (in front of the Sule Pogoda).

The morning of Feb. 1, 2021, Tatmadaw, the Myanmar military, started a coup. Nyi Htet noticed that almost immediately after that the internet was cut, not allowing the information of the event to be spread.

The 21-year-old film, television and animation student discusses his experience protesting the coup in his home country of Myanmar.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the state counselor was arrested alongside President Myint Swe, ministers and members of the parliament.

Three days later, the junta’s actions began breaking out slowly, making the population aware of the situation despite the government’s best efforts to hide it. People from across the nation started to protest.

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“After one week, they started arresting and beating people … so the violence got worse and worse,” Nyi Htet said.

Following the movement, he started to protest in different ways by going to walking protests, publishing content on his social media and dropping out of university.

“We decided not to study while Myanmar is under military coup,” Nyi Htet said.

During the protests, Nyi Htet encountered the violence of the repression by the military.

“We are protesting in a narrow street … the military just arrived with three cars … they started shooting with fire,” Nyi said, not knowing if they were shooting with real bullets or not.

“Some middle aged guy, around 50 … His eyeball is dripping blood all over his face,” he said while describing the injury of one of the protesters.

This is not the only time that he has encountered this type violence.

“I am protesting in the front line, there’s two guys in front of me, they just ran in front of us to see what’s happening” Nyi Htet said. “One of the guys has been shot in the head … we heard a lot of gunfire, but we didn’t expect that they would do that (kill people).”

Another hard experience that he had to endure occurred in a protest in March 202, in his hometown called Thanlyin. The military charged at the protesters through a smoke bomb.

“I’m about to tell the protesters to hide and run but I haven’t got the time … they (the military) just chased me,” Nyi Htet said. “I heard two shots … they followed me, I really panicked.”

He finally escapes by taking a narrow street as the car they were using couldn’t go through it.

Despite the violence, he continued to protest and post on his social media until his close friend got arrested.

“He just collected money and supported people who had to run from their village,” Nyi said. “So as soon as the military knew that, they arrested him, I have no idea if he is still alive or not.”

After that, his cousin shared with him and his brother his wish to study abroad and they decided to leave in March 2023. Nyi Htet said, “Why not? I’m also a student from another country.”

Before taking the plane, Nyi said that he had to delete a lot of evidence that he took during the protest as, “They (the military) check everything in front of the airport.”

When asked about why he protested, Nyi Htet responded that “we just want our democracy to be better” and that “we just protested peacefully, we thought that if we protested continually, the whole world would notice.”

At the end, he explains the lack of recognition of the Myanmar situation from the world.

“It’s a small country, so I don’t think anyone cares about it.”

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About the Contributor
Timothe Vachellerie
Timothe Vachellerie, Staff Reporter
My interest in journalism started when if figured out the importance of having a good access to information. Also, I wanted to do a meaningful job, a job that serves a real purpose. My hopes for the quarter is that I can start to learn more about journalism and that I can improve my writing.

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