By Neeraj Nanda
MELBOURNE, 27 March 2021: On a day when scores including a young boy of five were reportedly killed in one of the bloodiest days since the army coup in Myanmar (Burma), the Burmese community, and many others held a candle-light vigil and solidarity meeting in Springvale. A somber but determined expression of support for these people facing a lethal crackdown was evident. The ‘Burma Night Fundraising Event’ at the Waltzing Matilda Hotel, Springvale was a powerful expression of democratic solidarity.
Different ethnic groups performed their dances and songs as people laid roses at the martyr’s corner specially set up for the candlelight vigil with two big electronic flames on both sides. Photographs of those who lost their lives in the ongoing protests were there as a homage. Nearby an exhibition of posters, banners, and photo clippings on display traced the protest movement’s progress. No doubt, one could see the unfolding tragedy on display. The posters with Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is in detention at an undisclosed location gave those present a message of hope.
The meeting saw bipartisan support with Labor MP Peter Khalil, Liberal Bruce Atkinson Member for Eastern Region, Labor’s Meng Heang Tak Member of Legislative Assembly from Clarinda, Former Clarinda MP Home Ling and many from the Burmese community addressed those present. An informative slide show detailed the struggle for democracy.
In his powerful speech and later talking to SAT, Peter Khalil called upon the Federal Government to show strategic courage to support the people of Myanmar by targetted sanctions against the coup regime, put pressure on Australian companies to stop doing business in Myanmar, a visa amnesty for students and others from Myanmar in Australia and recognize the CRPH government as the legitimate government of Myanmar.
Addressing the gathering Bruce Atkinson supported the fighting people of Myanmar but said could not commit to the points raised by Peter Khalil.
Meng Heang Tak condemned the army coup and said we stand in solidarity with the people of Burma.
Myanmar diaspora came in full strength and raised the three fingers symbol of the anti-coup struggle in their country. Different communities wore their traditional dresses and sang songs in solidarity.