Hundreds from Fort Wayne’s Burmese community protested this weekend to condemn the ongoing military coup in Myanmar, also known as Burma. They hope the United States government will take a harder line, including stricter sanctions, until a democratic government is restored.
Protesters held signs like "Save Myanmar" and "We Need The U.S. Government’s Help" as they marched in front of the Allen County courthouse. Many carried portraits of the country’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Nyein Chan is the director of refugee resettlement at the Catholic Charities of Fort Wayne-South Bend. He says he’s worried for his 91-year-old mother protesting in Myanmar despite reports of violent clashes with security forces.
“I worry about her so much,” Chan says. “No 91-year-old woman can run like young people – so much worry. But she can’t [just] stay home.”
Chan said the U.S. should close its embassy in the country in a show of opposition to the military coup. So far the U.S. has condemned the coup and subsequent attacks on protesters in the country and frozen U.S.-held assets of several military leaders.
According to state department figures, more Burmese refugees arrived in Indiana last year than any other state. Many settle in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis.