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Leaflets recalling 8.8.88 distributed in Pegu


Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Three days from the anniversary of Burma’s historic day - August 8, leaflets exhorting people not to forget the peoples’ uprising, were distributed in Pegu town, north of Burma’s former capital Rangoon.

Half A-4 size papers dated 6 August, 2009 were distributed in market places, on roads, and at crowded places, local residents said.

“It is dated August 6, 2009. And below there are two paragraphs saying ‘our bodies may be shattered but our spirits will continue to live.’ And in the next paragraph it says ‘have you forgotten August 6, 1988, when innocent students and people shed their blood in Pegu’. The leaflets were signed ‘Spirits of 88’,” a local resident, who read it, told Mizzima.

Another local said he had also seen the leaflets being distributed on Paya Street and Thanatpin streets in Shwe Mawtaw ward of the town. But later, the leaflets were collected by the police.

A police official at the No (1) police station in Pegu town, when contacted, admitted that they had collected the leaflets that were strewn in the town.

“Yes, we have collected the leaflets. The words are like a poem. We don’t know who distributed the leaflets. But it is not related to 8.8.88,” the police officer said.

On August 8, 1988, students, monks and civilians across the country came out on the streets in protest against the Burmese Socialist Programme Party regime led by the late dictator General Newin. Authorities brutally cracked down on the protesters, killing over 3,000 people and arresting hundreds of protesters.

The day came to be known as the four eights or 8.8.88 in modern Burmese history. Any reference to the four eights has since been banned by the military rulers, who grabbed power in a coup in September 1988.

Two days prior to the historic day, on August 6, 1988, students in Pegu led a mass protest. The Burmese Army opened fire on the protestors, killing scores.

Local residents said, every year before the anniversary of the four eights, leaflets or other forms of exhortations, not to forget the day is distributed in the town.


 

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