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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

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