© Reuters. Ma Thuzar Wint Lwin, Miss Universe Myanmar, holds up the Pray for Myanmar sign during the Miss Universe Pageant National Costume Show in Hollywood, Florida, USA, on May 13, 2021 in this screenshot from a handout video. Courtesy of MISS UNIVERSE / Handout
(Reuters) – Myanmar’s Miss Universe nominee Thuzar Wint Lwin used Sunday’s pageant to urge the world to speak out against the military junta, whose security forces have killed hundreds of opponents since a February 1 coup has taken power.
“Our people die and are shot by the military every day,” she said in a video message for the competition in which she appeared in the finals at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
“I want to encourage everyone to talk about Myanmar. As Miss Universe Myanmar, I have spoken as much as possible since the coup,” she said.
Myanmar’s junta spokesman did not answer calls for comments.
Thuzar Wint Lwin is among dozens of celebrities, actors, social media influencers and athletes from Myanmar who spoke out against the coup in which elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi was overthrown and imprisoned.
At least 790 people have been killed by security forces since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group. It is said that over 5,000 people have been arrested and around 4,000 are still in custody – including several celebrities.
Thuzar Wint Lwin did not make it to the final round of the Miss Universe competition, but she won the award for the best national costume, which is based on the ethnic costume of her Chin people from northwest Myanmar, where fighting has taken place in recent days Army and anti-junta militia fighters.
While demonstrating in her costume, she held up a sign that read “Pray for Myanmar”.
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