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Remembering Unforgettable August 8, 1988:  Rally in Dhaka


M Seing reports

Dhaka, 8 August 2002Members of Burmese community  composed largely of Arakanese  held a peaceful rally in Dhaka this morning commemorating the 14th anniversary of the Burmese Democratic Uprising of 1988.

At around 11:00 hrs (5:00 hrs UTC), about thirty exiled Burmese most of whom are refugees recognized by the Bangladesh chapter of the UNHCR, assembled on the sidewalk hugging the Education Building situated at the busy downtown area of Dhaka, a stone’s throw from the Press Club.    Carrying placards and posters of Arakanese Monk U Ottama, Father of the Nation General Aung San and the present charismatic Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the demonstrators denounced the present State Peace and Development Council junta for its anti-people and anti-democracy activities.  They also demanded immediate restoration of democracy in the country, and inclusion of minority nationalities in a tripartite dialogue participated by the junta and Daw Aung san Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy for a sustainable form of democracy acceptable to the Free World.

In a statement delivered at the rally, the Arakanese for Democracy in Exile in Bangladesh also denounced the gross human rights violations, ethnic cleansing and use of ‘rape as a weapon of war’ perpetrated against the minority peoples of Burma, recently in Shan State, and who have been driven out of their own country.  The statement also quoted experts’ claim of more than two million minority people (non-Burman people) at present who are forced to take illegal shelter in the neighbouring countries of Burma.

They also demanded that SPDC immediately release all the prisoners of conscience  politicians, journalists and intelligentsia; hold a tripartite dialogue with minority leaders and National League for Democracy; end military rule; stop ethnic cleansing and take legal action against the perpetrators; and establish democracy.

In the statement they called on the world community to exert pressure upon the SPDC junta for realizing those goals.  A small schoolboy shouted: “We want to go home!”

Go home every Burmese does want here, but not before the military dictators quit and democracy is restored at home  many of the demonstrators stated.

The rally was participated by members of democratic opposition of Burma including the All Arakan Students and Youths Congress.
At the beginning of the rally some local journalists expressed their surprise at the presence of Burmese opposition in Dhaka as the exiled Burmese community here has been keeping a low profile compared to the Burmese refugees in other Asian countries including Malaysia.
 
Meanwhile, thousands of Arakanese Buddhists and minority Muslims who fled from the wreath of the Burmese military continue to live a subhuman life in the inaccessible border areas of Bandarban and Cox’sbazaar districts in the southeastern part of Bangladesh, away from civilization, infested with malarial mosquitoes, without access to safe drinking water, shelter, medicine, education and hope.  #