Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Die Hard’ spirit of 7-July; Burmese activists vow to march ahead

by Mungpi

New Delhi (mizzima) - Burmese activists and Indian supporters on Tuesday reiterated their call to the Indian government to stop supporting Burma’s military regime and instead support the movement for democracy in the country.

Marching along Parliament Street in New Delhi, India’s capital, scores of Burmese and Indian activists held protest rallies on Tuesday marking the 47th anniversary of 7-July, on which day in 1962 Burma’s military rulers’ cracked down on student protesters in Rangoon University.

Protesters said, with the world witnessing the latest injustice by the Burmese regime - the trumped-up charge and trial of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi - India and China should stop adhering to their soft stand on the regime but join the global outcry and pressurize the junta.

While with the spirit of ‘7-July’, Burmese students will continue the fight for human rights and democracy in Burma, it is crucial for the international community, particularly neighbouring countries, to keep up their support in order to usher in changes in Burma, the protestors said.

The protesters, many of them former students in Burma, who fled the junta’s brutal crackdown, urged India to be a responsible neighbour and called on Russia and China to refrain from exercising their veto power to block a Security Council resolution against the regime.

Students have played a vital role in the history of Burma, from the time the people fought for independence from British rule, to the most recent protests in September 2007.

On July 7, 1962, scores of university students staged a protest in the Students’ Union building in Rangoon University. They were mainly protesting against the strict rules imposed by the General Newin led new military regime, which grabbed power in a military coup on March 2, 1962.

The protests, however, were met with brute force by the Burmese Army, which opened fire, killing scores of students. The new regime, threatened by the protests, on July 8, secretly ordered the Student Union building to be blown up.

The blowing up of the Union building marked a new era of suppression and repression of Burmese students, who have been in the forefront of all Burmese movements in the past. Since then, Burma’s students have had no other Union building till date.

The military regime under Newin had particularly targeted students as they were viewed as a threat to their rule. Despite the regime’s repressions, Burmese students have led several protests including the popular uprising of August 8, 1988, which put an end to the Newin regime.

Maintaining the legacy of Newin, the present military dictators continue to suppress students by arresting and sentencing student activists to long prison terms and also by dividing university campuses, which effectively divides the student mass to hold convenient meetings.

But protesters in New Delhi said, despite all the suppression, students will continue fighting against military dictators and urged India and China to stand by them, and not seek short-term temporary national interests by cooperating with the regime.

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