Kyaw Phyo Tha
[gallery type="slideshow" ids="90699,90698,90701,90702,90703,90704,90700"] RANGOON — Exactly 27 years ago today, they were out on the streets of Burma former capital, marching in columns and shouting slogans to oust the country’s military dictatorship that had ruled with an iron fist since 1962. On Saturday, some of those who took part in nation-wide the pro-democracy demonstration on Aug 8, 1988 (also known as the ‘Four Eights Uprising’) gathered again in Rangoon. This time, there were no anti-junta chants. They flocked here to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the uprising—brutally crushed by the then military regime—by opening a temporary memorial hall to reflect on the day and its aftermath. “This is not yet a great and comprehensive exhibition but we will work to upgrade it,” said Ko Jimmy, one of the memorial hall organizing committee members and a leader of 88 Generation Students Group, at the opening ceremony. “At the least, it is evidence of what happened in our country during the country’s democracy movement.” The two-storey hall is decorated with pictures taken on the day the uprising began and the suppression of protests six weeks later on Sept. 18, the day the military staged a coup. Columns of students, monks and members of the public are seen marching on streets all over Burma, as soldiers charged on demonstrators and left a trail of dead in their wake. On display are the head and armbands worn during the demonstration, along with a Gestetner duplicating machine used to print anti-government leaflets during the uprising. “This is our comrade,” said prominent 88 Generation member Ko Ko Gyi of the machine. “We produced our statements, our ultimatums to the government and our newsletter with its help. For us, it was so valuable that we vowed to let ourselves get arrested to protect it.” Aung Maw, the memorial hall’s presiding officer, said the goal of the exhibit was to record the history and provide a place for the next generation to learn a crucial part of their country’s history. “For the moment it’s temporary, but we are trying to get a permanent place for the hall to show the real history of Burma, especially to younger people,” he said.

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