Burma marks 1988 uprising

Public commemorations are taking place in Burma to mark the 25th anniversary of the uprisings which launched the country’s pro-democracy movement.

It is the first time the anniversary has been openly commemorated in Rangoon, also known as Yangon.

Hundreds of thousands took part in the protests, which began on 8 August 1988.

But six weeks later, at least 3,000 protesters were dead, thousands more were jailed and the military was firmly back in control.

During the 1988 protests, Aung San Suu Kyi emerged as the leader of the pro-democracy movement in Burma, also known as Myanmar.

Ms Suu Kyi, who is now the opposition leader, was expected to give a speech as part of the commemorations.

Photo exhibitions and performances in mock prison cells have been organised to depict events during the uprising and the crackdown that followed.

The current reformist government has tacitly approved this memorial, even though some of the former generals serving in it are implicated in the violence, the BBC’s Jonathan Head reports from Rangoon.

A nominally civilian government took power in Burma after elections in November 2010 that ended military rule.

The new administration, led by President Thein Sein, has introduced a series of political and economic reforms, including the release of many political prisoners and the relaxing of media censorship.

Most sanctions against Burma have now been relaxed in response to the changes.

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