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Hundreds of protesters have died amidst political turmoil in Myanmar, where the military launched a coup and declared a state of emergency after its leaders were unhappy with the results of a 2020 election in the Southeast Asian nation.
ONE Championship light heavyweight titleholder Aung La N Sang, a Myanmar-born American, has spoken out since the unrest began Feb. 1 and has made a plea to U.S. President Joe Biden to do more.
“If there’s any way you can talk some sense into the military, it would be so helpful to the citizens in Myanmar who are suffering every day,” Sang said in a message directed at Biden during an interview with MMA Junkie Radio. “They have no media coverage right now, because all the media are banned. You can’t speak out against them on the internet on social media, or they’ll actually come get you at your house. Please, if you could by any way communicate and talk some sense into the general and the military, all of Myanmar would appreciate it.”
Biden has called the situation “absolutely outrageous” and ordered sanctions on Myanmar back on Feb. 10. More than 700 civilians have been killed by military forces as the bloodshed worsened under military commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing, who seized power from elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
Young demonstrators flash the three-fingered symbol of resistance during a anti-coup mask strike in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, April 4, 2021. (AP Photo)
As he prepares to fight April 28 at ONE on TNT IV, N Sang said the first few weeks of training camp were hard to focus as the violence escalated in his home country. Family and friends have sent him videos of soldiers “brutally killing young, young kids.”
“There’s protesting, and protesters are getting shot. Kids are getting killed. I’m telling you, people over there, the citizens are getting sniped,” N Sang said. “Think about it: Not just accidentally shot, but sniped. We don’t have Second Amendment (in Myanmar). That’s the thing that Americans need to remember. We should be thankful for things like that, the rights that we have.”
If he retains his title against Vitaly Bigdash, N Sang plans on using his platform to spread awareness.
“I’m trying to find some positive out of this, and hopefully I can spotlight Myanmar a little bit more after the win, a great performance,” he said.
You can watch the full interview with N Sang (and Nguyen) in the video above and check out some of his Instagram posts on the Myanmar coup below.