RANGOON, Burma – Thousands massed in Rangoon on Thursday (August 8th) to mark the anniversary of a bloody crackdown on rallies 25 years ago, in a historic commemoration urging further democratic reform, AFP reported.
Some 5,000 people crammed into a convention centre and thousands more watched large television screens outside to recall the 1988 student protests that were brutally crushed by the then-junta.
A vicious military assault on student-led demonstrations against Burma's military rulers on August 8th, 1988 sparked a huge popular uprising against the junta. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets across the country calling for democracy in protests that came to a brutal end the following month with an army crackdown that killed more than 3,000.
Reforms under Burma's quasi-civilian regime have included the freeing of hundreds of political prisoners – many of whom were jailed for their roles in the 1988 rallies.
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who was taking part in Thursday's commemorations, rose to prominence during the protests.
Ko Ko Gyi, a key figure in the 1988 protests and a leader of the 88 Generation activist group, said campaigns to push Burma further on the path to democracy should maintain "the spirit" of the student rallies.