A pageant contestant from Myanmar used her moment in the spotlight on Saturday (Mar. 27) to call for peace, appealing for "urgent international help" to end the violence in her homeland.
Han Lay, who was in Bangkok competing for the Miss Grand International crown, hit out at the crackdown, in which more than 300 people have been killed.
"Please help Myanmar"
Onstage at the Miss Grand International 2020 pageant, Han Lay said, "Today in my country, Myanmar, while I am going to be on this stage, there are so many people dying, more than 100 people died today. I am deeply sorry for all the people who have lost their lives on the streets", pausing frequently to fight back tears.
"I want to say for here that, please help Myanmar. We need your urgent international help right now."
A goddess of peace
During the pageant's national costume contest on Mar. 24, Lay wore an elaborate golden outfit channelling the "Goddess of Peace", according to her Instagram account.
She explained: "'The Goddess of Peace' represents the most needed solution for the current crisis in MYANMAR, 'Peace'."
As a Yangon University student, Lay added that some of her peers had been detained since the coup, and called for their release.
In a separate Instagram post, she 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 advocacy STOP THE WAR AND VIOLENCE."
The Associated Press reported that just last month, arrest warrants had been issued for several well-known actors and directors who had been publicly supportive of the protests, charging them under a public order law that carries a penalty of up to three years in prison.
Top image via @hann_may Instagram