With government's OK, Myanmar marks 1988 protest
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - Crowds turned out on Wednesday in cities across Myanmar to commemorate the 24th anniversary of massive pro-democracy protests, with the government giving its approval and support for the first time.
Former political prisoners joined hundreds of others at rallies in Yangon, Mandalay and elsewhere to mark the Aug. 8, 1988, start of the uprising, which was bloodily suppressed by the military.
Government approval for such rallies would be unthinkable a few years ago. While the country was under military rule, citizens did not dare to mark the anniversary publically for fear of arrest.
A day before this year's anniversary, President Thein Sein, who has introduced a wave of globally praised reforms since taking office last year, sent two Cabinet ministers to inform organizers that the government was approving their request to hold Wednesday's rallies. The ministers also handed over 1 million kyat (S$1,395.10) in cash to help fund the events, said Mr Ko Ko Gyi, a leader of the 1988 uprising who spent many years in prison.