Miss Myanmar won the Miss Universe national costume contest with a powerful political statement “Pray for Myanmar”
Using the platform to bring the attention of the world to the plight of her country, 22-year-old Thuzar Wint Lwin denounced the military junta that displaced Myanmar’s democratically elected government in a coup on 1 February.
Lwin 22, held up a “Pray for Myanmar” sign, addressing her country’s current political crisis.
“The soldiers patrol the city every day and sometimes they set up roadblocks to harass the people coming through,” she said. “In some cases, they fire without hesitation. We are scared of our own soldiers. Whenever we see one, all we feel is anger and fear.”
At least 790 people have been killed by security forces since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group. It says over 5,000 people have been arrested, with some 4,000 still detained – including several celebrities.
Thuzar Wint Lwin did not make it to the last round of the Miss Universe competition, but she won the award for Best National Costume, which was based on the ethnic costume of her Chin people from northwestern Myanmar, where fighting has raged in recent days between the army and anti-junta militia fighters.
As she paraded with her national costume, she held up a placard that said “Pray for Myanmar.”