Security is tight in the main Burmese city of Rangoon Friday as residents quietly mark the 20th anniversary of a major pro-democracy uprising.

Millions of Burmese took to streets on August 8, 1988 to protest against the ruling military junta, which had been in power since 1962.  The uprising brought down longtime junta chief Ne Win, but the military eventually regained control after a bloody crackdown that left an estimated 3,000 people dead.

Armed guards have posted at several important sites in Rangoon, including the famed Shwedagon pagoda, Burma's holiest shrine.  Security has tightened in Burma since the military's harsh crackdown on protests last year in which 31 people were killed.

No protests in Burma have been planned to mark the day, but demonstrations have taken place in Bangkok and Manila.  

A spokesperson for the National League for Democracy, Nyan Win, says Friday's anniversary marks an important turning point in Burma's history.  

The protests pushed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi into the political limelight and helped her found the NLD to challenge army rule.

Burma's ruling junta allowed elections two years later, but refused to recognize the NLD's victory.  

Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace laureate, has been under some form of detention for most of the past 18 years since the 1990 election.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.