A former Myanmar beauty queen has reportedly taken up arms against the military junta in her country to retaliate against their 1 February coup that led to an uprising in which hundreds of pro-democracy protestors have been killed.
Htar Htet Htet, 32, joined a rebel group and has been posting pictures of herself with an assault rifle. She competed in the first Miss Grand International beauty pageant in Thailand in 2013 against 60 other competitors.
On her Facebook page, Ms Htet Htet wrote: “The time has come to fight back. Whether you hold a weapon, pen, keyboard or donate money to the pro-democracy movement, everyone must do their bit for the revolution to succeed.”
The former beauty queen-turned-gymnastics instructor posted a photo of herself in black combat fatigues and with an assault rifle. “I will fight back as much as I can. I am ready and prepared to give up everything. I am even ready to pay with my life,” she wrote.
11 May marked the 100th day since the military junta’s coup in the country. Crowds have been pouring in Yangon streets and across the country demanding a return to democracy. Myanmar has been in political strife since 1 February when the junta ousted the civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and seized control of Myanmar.
Another beauty queen contestant, Han Lay has also been a vocal critic of the military junta in Myanmar. She told the media: “So many people die in Myanmar by the guns of the military... Please save us.” On her Facebook page, Ms Lay wrote: “Our Myanmar people are walking on the streets to fight for democracy. As a representative of Myanmar, I will walk on the stage of Miss Grand International with the (message to) stop the war and violence.”
UN News reported that, “As of 10 May, at least 782 people have been killed as security forces used unnecessary, disproportionate and lethal force, to suppress demonstrations and other forms of public participation, since the military coup on 1 February.”
Rupert Colville, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) spokesperson, told the media: “The military authorities are showing no sign of letting up in their brutal crackdown on opponents in a bid to consolidate their hold on power.”
He added: “While much of the world’s attention has been on the number of peaceful protesters and bystanders killed by the security forces, the authorities continue to commit other gross human rights violations against the people of Myanmar.”
Meanwhile, Ms Htet Htet, quoted Che Guevara on Twitter: “The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.” She added, posting pictures of herself in black fatigues and a rifle: “We must win.” She claimed that she is undergoing weapons training in the jungle for more than a month now, but didn’t give out many other details.
In recent months many rebel groups have stepped up their attacks on the military and police. In retaliation, the junta has been resorting to airstrikes that have displaced tens of thousands of people in the country.
Many rallies and candlelight vigils were held to mark the 100th day since the military junta’s coup, including in the commercial hub of Yangon, the central town of Bago, the Irrawaddy river delta, the central region of Sagaing and Mon State in the south.