News / Asia

Ruling Party Joins Burma Crackdown Event

Burma pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and 88 generation student leader Min Ko Naning (2nd L) attend an event on the 25th anniversary of the democratic uprising known also as '8888',  at Burma Convention Center in Rangoon, August 8, 2013.
Burma pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and 88 generation student leader Min Ko Naning (2nd L) attend an event on the 25th anniversary of the democratic uprising known also as '8888', at Burma Convention Center in Rangoon, August 8, 2013.
William Gallo / Colin Lovett
Burma's ruling party has for the first time joined public commemorations of the 1988 pro-democracy uprising that the military crushed.
 
Ruling party vice-chairman and former general Htay Oo joined pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi and a crowd of more than 5,000 at an event in the Myanmar Convention Center in Rangoon Thursday. 

Min Ko Naing, a prominent student leader in 1988, spoke at the commemoration.

"For a time period, those who hold power could portray or write the history as what they want. But the truth would be revealed at last. It shows that how courageous people those joined today commemorate this special day,” the student leader said.
 
It is a huge shift from previous years, when the military government banned any public mentions of the bloody 1988 crackdown, in which more than 3,000 people died.
Since a nominally civilian government took power in 2011, Burma has released hundreds of political prisoners, reduced government censorship, and allowed democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi to successfully run for parliament.
 
Earlier, activists laid wreaths at Rangoon's Sule Pagoda, the site of the initial crackdown. Dozens of protesters also marched peacefully through Rangoon. 
 
  • Burmese police officers are surrounded by a small group of pro-democracy students marching to commemorate the August 8,1988 uprising, Rangoon, August 8, 2013.
  • Members of Burma's prominent 88 generation students group hold symbolic wreaths during a march in downtown Rangoon, August 8, 2013.
  • Burmese police officers and others take pictures of a group of pro-democracy students commemorating the 25th anniversary of the August 8, 1988 uprising, Rangoon, August 8, 2013.
  • People gather to take pictures of a wreath of flowers on a barbed-wired roadside barrier outside Rangoon City Hall commemorating the victims of August 8, 1988 pro-democracy uprising, Rangoon, August 8, 2013.
  • A wreath is kept on a barbed-wired roadside barrier outside Yangon city hall commemorating the victims of August 8, 1988 pro-democracy uprising in Rangoon, August 8, 2013.
  • Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and 88 generation student leader Min Ko Naning attend an event on the 25th anniversary of the democratic uprising known also as "8888", Rangoon, August 8, 2013.
  • Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi gives speech on the 25th anniversary of the democratic uprising known also as "8888", Rangoon, August 8, 2013.
 
Mark Farmaner of the Burma Campaign UK says despite recent reforms, Burma's government has never held accountable those responsible for the deaths.
 
"The government, the military, and President Thein Sein himself are not acknowledging that what happened was wrong, and they're not revealing what their own role was. There is no process of justice, accountability, truth or reconciliation at all," he said.
 
However, Farmaner said that increased openness is reflected in the government's willingness to allow what he calls unprecedented commemorations of the 1988 protests.
 
"It's one of the paradoxes that you've got in Burma at the moment. Basically, you've got the same people in charge, and you've got many of the same issues - people arrested for peacefully protesting, the Burmese army still attacking ethnic minorities," he explained. "Yet at the same time they're allowing more freedom of expression, there's a bit more political space in the country. People can talk more openly about the problems, but at the same time those problems are not being fully addressed."
 
Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch called on President Thein Sein to commit to an independent investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the deaths.
 
The New York-based group called the issue an "unaddressed open wound that challenges the government's rhetoric of reform." It said addressing the abuses is "absolutely necessary for Burmese society to move forward."
 
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Burmese service

You May Like

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Goghi
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid