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Democracy, human rights work must continue to the end—Aung San Suu Kyi

YANGON—The fight to achieve full democracy and human rights in Myanmar must continue until these goals are achieved, National League for Democracy chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi said on Sunday (March 16), at an event commemorating the 26th anniversary of Red Bridge Day.

Red Bridge Day refers to a bloody massacre near the since-removed White Bridge on the west bank of Inya Lake. It was there, on March 16, 1988, that members of the Hlon Htein riot police beat dozens of student protesters to death, sparking further demonstrations that led to the nationwide pro-democracy uprising.

At Sunday’s event marking the birth of the Yangon University Students’ movement, which was held at Inya Lake, Suu Kyi’s message honoured all those who took part in the movement, including the many who gave their lives for it.

“Those who participated in the Red Bridge movement need to take responsibility for the hard work of democracy and human rights until the very end, bearing in mind that milestones such as Red Bridge Day remind us not to forget what happened that day and the historic values we have always cherished,” she said.

In March 1988, many Yangon University Students lost their lives while peacefully demonstrating against the dictatorship, due to the crackdown by the then-military government. Many more students were also arrested that month.

“Around March 1988, the public’s dislike of the then-government was based entirely on the various difficulties they faced. The students took the front rows of the demonstrations to represent the public. The incidents that happened 26 years ago reflected the sorry state of the entire nation’s society, its economy, its politics and its rule of law,” Suu Kyi said, adding that those who sacrificed their lives fighting unfairness and oppression must be honoured. 

The Red Bridge Committee also made a statement at the event. In order to become a fair and free society, the committee said, and if Myanmar hopes to avoid similar bad historical incidents again and become an equal and fair federal Union, national reconciliation is a must.


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