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Burma: The Spirit of 8888 People’s Uprising for Democracy Lives On

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The 19th anniversary of the people’s uprising in Burma on August 8, 1988 highlights to the world that the spirit of the 8888 activists lives on. Burmese and international human rights defenders have come out in solidarity of their struggles for the democratisation of Burma.
Thousands of Burmese and international human rights defenders (HRDs) came together once again to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the August 8, 1988 people’s uprising in Burma, known in short as the 8888 people’s uprising.

Nineteen years ago, on this date, more than 3,000 people, including women, monks, and children, were killed by the Burmese soldiers, the Tatmadaw and the security police while they protested peacefully on the streets.1

Over the past 19 years, the spirit and goals of the 8888 movement have remained relevant and alive through the peaceful resistance of diverse peoples.2 The struggle for Burma is becoming the international struggle of all activists.

On this same day, large numbers of human rights defenders (HRDs) across the globe came together in remembrance of the bravery and the spirit of the 8888 martyrs. 92 members of Parliament who were elected during the 1990 elections submitted a proposal to Ban Ki Moom, the UN Secretary General, calling for the democratisation of Burma.3

Leading institutions of the Burmese democracy movement, including the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) and National Coalition of the Union of Burma (NCUB), as well as the political alliance of exiled groups in Burma, also supported this move and called on the governments of China, India, Japan, Russia, and western countries as well as ASEAN to pressure the SPDC in order to engage in a transparent and inclusive democratisation process in Burma.4

Inside Burma, numbers of the Burmese democratic forces reaffirmed their remembrance of 8888 and their commitment toward fighting for democracy in Burma. Some of the groups include 8888 Generation Students, Burma Labour Solidarity Action Committee, and Pathein University Students’ Union. They defied possible arrests and torture from the military dictators. Various demonstrations were held in Thailand, USA, India, and other countries.5

1 8888 uprising in Burma remembered. Democratic Voice of Burma. 9 June 2005.

8888 Spirit Still Strong as Junta Weakens. Altsean Burma. BN 200/1034, 8 August 2007.

E-mail letter from Asia Pacific Peoples Partnership for Burma (APPPB), 7 August 2007.