The military council that suppressed the protest movement commemorating the 35th anniversary of the 8888 Uprising; Firefighters and their families from Budalin Township were arrested by PDF

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – August 08 Scenes

MoeMaKa, August 09, 2023

The military council that suppressed the protest movement commemorating the 35th anniversary of the 8888 Uprising; Firefighters and their families from Budalin Township were arrested by PDF


In commemoration of the 35th anniversary of the 8888 Uprising, protests were reportedly held in Yangon, Mandalay, and some other areas where armed conflict is taking place.


The military council that seized power in 2021 did not allow commemorative activities relating to the military’s actions during the 88th Uprising period, interpreting such commemoration as opposing the military and suppressing it.


The history of the 8888 Uprising is the history of the overthrow of the Burma Socialist Programme Party led by generals from the military, which at that time was disguised as a one-party dictatorship, and after more than 1 month, the military took off the mask of the party and seized political power in military uniforms. At the beginning of the protests and at the end of the military coup, the military fired on the protesters with automatic rifles used on the battlefield, and it was recorded that about 3,000 civilians lost their lives. Most of the generals who ordered the military and the officials at that time are no longer alive, but the military carried out these activities, so the current military council stood by the military’s brutal crackdowns and killings at that time, and according to this historical pattern, those who commemorated the 8888 Uprising are being arrested and punished as if they were against them.


On the 35th anniversary of the 8888 Uprising, Myanmar is going through another movement to fight against the military dictatorship and eliminate the military dictatorship, which did not end at that time. It is a time when revolutionary forces were attacking the dictatorial forces with more aggressive armed methods than the situation just after the 8888 uprising, when civil war is going on in all parts of Myanmar, when the number of war refugees exceeds millions, and when the loss of lives of not only armed groups but also civilians is happening day by day. On the economic side, there is widespread and deep inflation, and due to the scarcity of domestic employment opportunities, millions of people, known as migrant workers, leave to work in neighboring countries, working and supporting their family members in the country.


The situation is that the country’s education and health are falling to the lowest levels; the health care system for the public is crumbling; there are not enough staff in low-cost education services for the majority; trust is broken; and due to political disagreements, the community is living with suspicion and caution. In viewing the 8888 Uprising, pro-democracy supporters see it as a democratic uprising that happened before us, and the military side shows that they have the same attitude as the military leaders who crushed the 8888 Uprising, along with defending their position in political power, not accepting the 8888 Uprising, and being determined to arrest and suppress any democracy activists.


One of the news items that drew special attention in today’s news is the news that a total of 21 employees and family members of Budalin Township’s fire chief and the fire department were arrested by people’s defense forces.


While the military council troops were invading Budalin Township, the PDF forces raided the Fire Department in Budalin Township, arrested some employees and their families, and took away 2 fire engines, according to news reports.


RFA reported that the arrest was made by Budalin Township people’s defense joint forces, and it was told that the reason for the arrest was that the Fire Department did not put out the fire when the villages were burned by the military council. Those who were arrested were not participants or helpers in the military council’s armed attacks, so arresting and threatening civil department employees and their family members may harm the reputation and support of the people’s defense forces. From the international point of view, the arrest of civil department employees and civilians can be considered as a violation of international rules and human rights standards.


The National Unity Government is in a position to be held accountable for such issues through policy, and has the obligation to control and take action on what is happening at the bottom. On the other hand, if they give the excuse of not being able to take action and control it, it may be like admitting the situation in which each village is being governed individually. Just like the practice of declaring those who do not do CDM as traitors and punishing them, there is a possibility that the arrest and prosecution of civil department employees and family members may be considered a policy mistake.