Demonstrators across Asia held rallies on Sunday in support of protesters in Myanmar fighting against the military coup.
The rallies showed the growing influence of youth movements across Asia pushing for democracy with the rallying cry “Milk Tea Alliance”.
Pro-democracy campaigners in Myanmar had called for international help and in response around 200 people in Taipei and dozens in Bangkok, Melbourne and Hong Kong took to the streets waving #MilkTeaAlliance signs and flags.
The hashtag was used millions of times on Sunday. Its name originates from the shared passion for the sweet milky drink in Thailand, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Activists in Indonesia and Malaysia held online protests and thousands more, from Southeast Asia and elsewhere, took part in a social media campaign, posting messages of support.
The rallies in Asia took place on the bloodiest day of weeks of demonstrations in Myanmar, after police fired on protesters, including in the country’s biggest city of Yangon, where some activists held their own “Milk Tea Alliance” signs.
“When we see courageous people in Myanmar taking to the streets, braving water cannon, tear gas, batons and bullets, painful memories stir,” Debby Chan, a Sino-Myanmar relations researcher who took part in a Hong Kong rally on top of city landmark Lion Rock, told Reuters.
“Hong Kong protesters also suffered from this in 2019,” she said. “Today we want to show our solidarity.”
Pro-democracy advocates say the budding pro-democracy pan-Asian solidarity coalition is now playing a consistent role in helping activists mobilise.
“Myanmar activists have been very active in engaging with Milk Tea Alliance since the coup,” said Thai protest organiser Rathasat Plenwong in Bangkok on Sunday.
“We feel like we’re in this together.”