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Gwangju and Myanmar in solidarity for democracy on May 18 anniversary Updated: 2021-05-18 14:57:32 KST

One of our reporters, Kim Yeon-seung, joins us from Gwangju, the city where the pro-democratic movement occurred in 1980, and she's been talking with locals about their feelings about the legacy of the movement.
Yeonseung, you've also been reporting about how the people of Gwangju are coming together to support the pro-democracy movement going on in Myanmar.
Tell us about that.

Devin, on a day like this, it's important to remember the sacrifices people made to build today's democracy.
South Korea has put the bloodshed behind, but there's another country still going through it and that's Myanmar.
Our team has been in Gwangju for two days, and we found signs, pictures, and exhibitions all over the city showing solidarity with the people of Myanmar.
Here in Gwangju, people have been holding up three fingers, the gesture used by the Myanmar protesters, to show their support for democracy.
Democracy Square, where I am right now, is also displaying photographs and messages written by Gwangju citizens in support of the protests against the coup.
And Chonnam National University in Gwangju is holding an art exhibition called "With Myanmar" with works in support of Myanmar's cause.
Gwangju is showing such strong solidarity with Myanmar because the current situation is a painful reminder of the the brutal military crackdown Gwangju faced back in 1980.

"The Burmese people in Gwangju are worried sick about their families in Myanmar because there's no way of contacting them. Just like how we were back then. So we mothers wanted to give them hope and courage. We held a press conference and raised funds."

"The most painful thing at the time of the May 18th movement was being disconnected from the outside world. So civic groups in Gwangju came together to form the Myanmar Gwangju Solidarity group to let the international community know about Myanmar's situation and to show Myanmar that we are with them."

Gwangju has an important place in the history of South Korea's democracy, and so it seems fitting that they would see special meaning in the Myanmar protests.
How do you the people in Gwangju who are from Myanmar feel about this?

Well, actually I got a chance to talk to the representative of the Gwangju Myanmar Network.
He's been very outspoken against the military coup in Myanmar and has been going out to U square in Gwangju every week to protest.
Take a listen to what he said.

"Gwangju knows Myanmar's pain because of the May 18th movement. I want to thank not only Gwangju but also the South Korean people who are standing with us. We hope that one day Myanmar can be a democratic country like South Korea."

That's all I have, back to you Devin
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