By Karen Lee
Following the February 1 coup, Myanmar’s netizens became the latest to join the #MilkTeaAlliance, an online collective of pro-democracy youth across Asia.
Drawing from the protest movements in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and neighboring Thailand, youth activists in Myanmar have leveraged their intimate knowledge of digital tools to protest authoritarianism. Inspired by the movement in Myanmar, the nearly year-long protests in Thailand against that country’s military-led government have gained renewed momentum.
The rise of digital activism across Southeast Asia in the past half-decade has featured a new generation of protesters leveraging social media and co-opting popular symbols to attract international coverage and garner sympathy for their causes.
Although the governments they are fighting against have also used these same tools to restrict protest activities and free speech, the digital imprint of the Milk Tea Alliance in the region ensures that these protests will not easily be forgotten.