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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid