“Our revolution starts today…”

RANGOON – The 88 Generation Students began its silver jubilee commemoration activities today in Rangoon. The silver jubilee celebrations started at 8am on August 6th and will end on August 8th at the Myanmar Convention Centre in Rangoon.

The members of 88 Generation said in a statement that they were “encouraged by the spirit of unity today at this 25th anniversary of the 8888 Democracy Uprising to call peace and national reconciliation by ethnic nationality groups, political parties, civil society groups and democratic forces both inside and outside of Myanmar.”

The 88 Generation urged in its statement that unless everyone was “working towards peace and national reconciliation, the people of Myanmar will not be able to enjoy the true taste of democracy and human rights.”

Speaking at the opening ceremony Ko Aung Zaw Htwe said that if the country was to achieve democracy it had to acknowledge and involve all the people of Burma.

“We can’t move forward as a nation, if we don’t have peace with ethnic people. If we can get an agreement between all the stakeholders in the country it will benefit Myanmar’s democracy.”

Ko Aung Zaw Htwe paid tribute to the thousands of Burmese people who lost their lives in the nationwide demonstrations that swept the country on 8 August 1988.

“25 years ago thousands of people lost their lives in the struggle for democracy and peace. We showed the people of the world that the 88 struggle of the people is for justice and the rights of the people.”

The Convention Centre was crammed full with monks, activists, ethnic leaders, journalists, labor activists and members of the National League for Democracy. One group who was missing was the All Burma Federation of Students Unions (ABFSU) who boycotted the jubilee’s organizing committee and said that they will not take part in the event.

The ABFSU pulled out of the silver jubilee commemoration in protest that members of the former military regime have been invited to attend the event.

The 1988 student led demonstrations were a popular uprising opposing the military regime. The military dictatorship ordered its troops to open fire on protesters, it is estimated that as many as 3,000 people were killed.

In its statement released today the 88 Generation explained that “August 8, 2013, marks the 25th anniversary of the 1988 democracy student protest when 25 years ago, people from all walks of life in Myanmar took to the streets to demonstrate against oppression and injustice. The people’s cry for democracy and human rights still echo strong to this day.”

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