Myanmar: What is the 8888 demonstration and what was General Ne Win’s reaction?
July 30, 2008 at 21:15:20
General Ne Win, the first military ruler of Myanmar
8888 was the largest demonstration that took place in Burma. 8888 derives from the date when the demonstration began: on 8th of August 1988.
In 1987, before the 8888 uprising, the head of state General Ne Win replaced the currency notes (Kyat in Burmese), 75, 35 and 25 with newly currency notes, 45 and 90. The equation of 4+5 and 9+0 = 9. Ne Win was advised to consider 9 as lucky number by his astrologer. But General Ne Win”-s decision to replace newly currency made the economic crisis in the country worse. People were suffering more and more because of the government changing the currency.
In this regard, all students of Yangon Technological University gathered and protested on campus. But the military responded to the students by killing. A student named Phone Maw was killed in this protest. The death of Phone Maw led the 8888 demonstration on August 8, 1988 to begin. The demonstration was widespread. Buddhist monks and citizens from all walks of life came to the streets and joined in demanding for the restoration of democracy and to bring an end to the military dictatorship in Burma.
The military opened fire on the demonstrators and more than 3000 people were killed. But the military government said as usual that the death toll was only a few.
There was a remarkable word said by General Ne Win: “Guns were not to shoot upwards” which means that the military is ordered to shoot directly to the people who are opposing.