Every other week, members of the local Burmese community gather at the Allen County Courthouse Green to rally for the return of democracy in their home country of Myanmar, formerly Burma.
“We finally thought we got the democracy we wanted,” local Burmese leader Kyaw Soe, one of the young local Burmese leaders, said Sunday at a rally that featured flags, chants and songs.
Under Aung San Suu Kyi, the country's elected leader, “the country was improving,” Soe said. But in February, the military staged a coup to take her out of office and put her under house arrest. Now she is rarely seen, Soe added.
Another young leader, Moe Moe Tun, acknowledged that Suu Kyi was criticized for what seemed to be her lack of concern for the oppressed Rohingya Muslim minority. But Tun put that down to Suu Kyi's efforts to reform the military. She was “trying to find a way to unite the military and the people,” Tun said.
To honor Suu Kyi, many of the more than 60 protesters wore bright red flowers in their hair or on their clothing.
“Everyone voted for her to be a leader but the military held on to the power,” Tun said. Now she has been accused of smuggling and other charges, she added.
“We don't support the military, we want democracy,” was one of the chants. Demonstrators on the Green sang “Blood is Our Promise,” a revolutionary song that has become an anthem.
Fort Wayne has the largest Burmese population in the U.S., with around 6,000 people of Christian, Buddhist and Muslim faiths, Tun said.