On This Day

The Day Myanmar Dictator U Ne Win Threatened Pro-Democracy Supporters With Death

By The Irrawaddy 23 July 2021

On this day in 1988, U Ne Win, military dictator and chairman of the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSSP), said, “The military never fires in the air. It just shoots straight to hit”, as he threatened pro-democracy supporters while addressing an urgent meeting of the BSSP.

“If disturbances continue, the army will have to be called in and the consequences will be yours,” said an angry U Ne Win, as he faced a wave of popular protests against his regime that culminated in a nationwide protest that has gone down in Myanmar’s history as the ‘8888 Uprising’.

The BSPP government had carried out violent crackdowns on student protesters in the preceding months, and protests were taking place in Pyay, Bago Region and Taunggyi in Shan State as the BSPP held an emergency meeting.

Four days after U Ne Win addressed the BSPP meeting, his cohort U Sein Lwin, who ordered deadly crackdowns on student protests that earned him the title ‘butcher of Yangon’, succeeded U Ne Win as the BSPP chairman and became the sixth president of Myanmar.

The former brigadier general listened to his mentor and ordered bloody crackdowns on demonstrators demanding democracy.

U Sein Lwin’s successors, military leaders General Saw Maung, Senior General Than Shwe and the current coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, also showed no mercy towards Myanmar citizens who were only asking for democracy.

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