Myanmar commemorates 75th anniversary of assassination of founding father

BANGKOK (AP) — Myanmar’s military-ruled government and its opponents marked Tuesday the 75th anniversary of the assassination of independence hero General Aung San, the father of the country’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Scattered pro-democracy rallies were held in several cities across the country on Tuesday to commemorate Aung San, six cabinet colleagues and two other officials who were assassinated 75 years ago at a cabinet meeting less than six months before the country , then called Burma, achieved its independence. of British colonial rule.

Aung San was 32 years old when he was shot by a group of armed men in uniform at the secretariat’s office in Yangon, the country’s largest city. A political rival, former Prime Minister U Saw, was tried and hanged for masterminding this political assassination.

Tuesday’s protests, usually dispersed quickly to avoid confrontations with security forces, also paid tribute to those who died protesting last February’s military takeover that toppled Suu Kyi and her elected government.

In Yangon, neighborhoods heard the wail of sirens and car horns for a minute at 10:37 a.m., the time of the 1947 attack.

Photos and videos on social media showed protesters holding banners and chanting “Eradicate racism, there are more than nine martyrs” in Yangon.

As of Monday, 2,091 civilians, including poets, activists, politicians and others, had been killed by security forces since February 2021, according to the Political Prisoners Assistance Association.

As every year, an official commemorative ceremony was held at the Martyrs’ Mausoleum in Yangon, near the foot of the famous Shwedagon Pagoda.

The historic secretariat office building where the attack took place and the Bogyoke Aung San Museum, the last residence of Aung San and his family just before his murder, which had been closed for the past two years due to the COVID pandemic -19, were reopened to the public under strict security protocols.

Residents living near the memorial sites said security was tight and few visitors were seen on nearby roads coming to pay their respects. They said the scene was very different from when Suu Kyi’s government ruled.

Neither Suu Kyi, who is under arrest, nor Chief General Min Aung Hlaing, who currently heads her government and ruling military council, attended the ceremony this year. Chief Vice General Soe Win, deputy chairman of the military council, was the highest-ranking official present. A ceremony subcommittee official laid a wreath on behalf of Suu Kyi’s family.

Suu Kyi, 77, who was arrested when the Myanmar military seized power from her elected government in February last year, has not been seen in public except for a photo shown on state television in May 2021, taken in court at the beginning of the criminal process. against her.

Suu Kyi was sentenced to 11 years in prison and was transferred last month from a secret detention facility to a custom-built isolation center at a prison in the capital Naypyitaw.

Now she is being tried in a series of legal cases brought by the military in a new facility built on the same prison compound. Suu Kyi’s supporters and independent analysts say all the charges against her are politically motivated and an attempt to discredit her and legitimize the military’s takeover of power.

The opposition Government of National Unity, which was established by elected lawmakers and is considered the country’s legitimate administrative body, live-streamed the commemorative ceremony on social media. The army has classified NUG as a terrorist organization.

NUG Prime Minister Mahn Winn Khaing Thann vowed to fight the military together with the people until the revolution triumphs.

“I would like to reiterate that the entire ethnic population, including monks, students and youth, will only be able to exercise their freedom of choice and fully enjoy their rights after the military dictatorship is ended and the federal democratic system flourishes,” he said. “Therefore, I would like to make a promise that we will work hard until the success of the spring revolution that we are carrying out together with the people.”

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