Twitter reveals emoji for pro-democracy Milk Tea Alliance

Twitter launched a new emoji in honor of the online pro-democracy movement Milk Tea Alliance, which has gained popularity among protesters in places like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Myanmar.

The Twitter public policy account announced the emoji on Wednesday in a topic to “celebrate the #MilkTeaAlliance’s first anniversary.”

The tweets that include the hashtag will now also feature the image of a white cup against a background that features “3 different types of tea with milk colors from regions where the Alliance was formed online for the first time ”, wrote the platform.

The movement came about last year after a Twitter war in which Chinese nationalists accused a young Thai actor and his girlfriend of supporting the democracy movement in Hong Kong, as well as Taiwan’s independence. according to Reuters.

Twitter said that since April 2020, it has recorded more than 11 million posts with #MilkTeaAlliance, with talks peaking when it was first launched and again in February after the Myanmar-led military coup that toppled the country’s civilian government.

Twitter has created emojis in the past for other social movements that have gained significant momentum online, including #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, writing on Thursday that the platform “continues to play a unique role in enabling public conversation about important social movements that are happening around the world. ”

“During times of civil unrest or violent repression, it is more important than ever for the public to have access to the #OpenInternet for real-time updates, reliable information and essential services. #KeepitOn, ”added Twitter in a follow-up tweet.

Twitter wrote: “We strongly believe that having access to free and #OpenInternet is an essential right and we remain a staunch defender of freedom of expression and condemn #InternetShutdowns.”

The Twitter announcement was followed on Thursday by the Myanmar military junta increasing its repression on the Internet and in the country’s communications services.

The Associated Press reported that the military placed additional limits on broadband fiber service, which provided the ultimate legal way for citizens to communicate with each other.

Burmese officials were also seen on Thursday confiscating satellite dishes.

The Biden government put on Thursday additional sanctions in Myanmar in response to the February coup, which the military tried to justify with allegations of corruption among the now deposed government of leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

More than 600 people have been killed so far as a result of police repression against the ongoing anti-coup protests, and more than 2,800 people have been arrested during the demonstrations.