On this day August 8, 1988

The 8888 Uprising, a series of marches, demonstrations, protests, and riots against the one-party state of the Burma Socialist Programme Party in Burma, began.

Protesters gathering in central Rangoon, 1988

Protesters gathering in central Rangoon, 1988

Since 1962, the country was ruled by the Burma Socialist Programme Party regime as a one-party state, headed by General Ne Win.

The catastrophic Burmese Way to Socialism had turned Burma into one of the world’s most impoverished countries.

Almost everything was nationalized and the government combined Soviet-style of central planning with superstitious beliefs.

The 8888 uprising was started by students in Yangon (Rangoon) on August 8, 1988. Student protests spread throughout the country. Hundreds of thousands of ocher-robed monks, young children, university students, housewives, doctors demonstrated against the regime.

The uprising ended on September 18, after a bloody military coup by the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). Thousands of deaths have been attributed to the military during this uprising. But authorities in Myanmar put much lower figures, with about 95 killed before President Sein Lwin’s resignation and another 250 killed after the formation of the government of the State Peace and Development Council.

During the crisis, Aung San Suu Kyi emerged as a national icon. When the military junta arranged an election in 1990, her party, the National League for Democracy, won. However, the military junta refused to recognize the results and placed Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest. The State Law and Order Restoration Council would be a cosmetic change from the Burma Socialist Programme Party.

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