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Burma: 19 Years of Protest [TIME]

In Asia, History, World News on March 24, 2010 at 12:29 am

JONATHAN UTZ / AFP / GETTY

The Opposition Leader
Aung San Suu Kyi has lived under house arrest for 12 of the last 18 years. She is the leader of the National League for Democracy, which achieved a decisive victory in the last national election, held in 1990. The junta has refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of that vote.

SYGMA / CORBIS

The 8888 Uprising
The current democracy movement in Burma draws inspiration from a series of mass demonstrations culminated on August 8, 1988 (8/8/88 – a day deemed auspicious).

SYGMA / CORBIS

Protester
The 8888 Uprisings drew fuel, in part, from anger over the killing of a student activist who had protested the demonetization of Burma’s currency, which wiped out the savings of most Burmese.

Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Protest Monks Junta Military Rule Burma Nobel Peace Prize

Martial Law
The protests were violently suppressed. It is estimated that thousands were killed. In this photo, a crowd gazes at a makeshift shrine to a doctor and some nurses who were shot during the uprising.

Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Protest Monks Junta Military Rule Burma Nobel Peace Prize

The General
The present leader of Burma is Than Shwe, seen here reviewing an honor guard in March 2007.

Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Protest Monks Junta Military Rule Burma Nobel Peace Prize

The Capital
The junta has relocated its base from Rangoon to a brand-new city in the interior it has named Naypyidaw, which means “city of the kings.”

Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Protest Monks Junta Military Rule Burma Nobel Peace Prize

The Junta
The majority of the nation’s cabinet and ministry posts are held by military officers.

Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Protest Monks Junta Military Rule Burma Nobel Peace Prize

Insurgents
In addition to the pro-democracy movement, the junta also faces opposition from various ethnic groups, some of whom maintain their own armies. These soldiers belong to the Karen National Union, which has been fighting on and off for autonomy since World War II.

Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Protest Monks Junta Military Rule Burma Nobel Peace Prize

Battle for Democratic Freedoms
In December 1996, students staged a series of demonstrations and sit-ins, calling for self-rule and protesting alleged police brutality.

Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Protest Monks Junta Military Rule Burma Nobel Peace Prize

Dispersed
The 1996 student protesters were pushed back with water cannons.

Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Protest Monks Junta Military Rule Burma Nobel Peace Prize

People’s Choice
Aung San Suu Kyi’s struggle to bring democracy to Burma earned her the Nobel Peace Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Protest Monks Junta Military Rule Burma Nobel Peace Prize

Extraordinary Meeting
This undated photo shows Suu Kyi meeting with General Than Shwe. Despite appearances, the government has repeatedly punished the opposition leader. When her husband, a British citizen, fell ill with cancer, he was denied a visa to visit her. He died before she could see him again.

Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Protest Monks Junta Military Rule Burma Nobel Peace Prize

Passing the Torch
Members of the 1988 uprising perform religious rites in front of Buddhist monks on the 19th anniversary of the 8888 Uprising, August 8, 2007.

Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Protest Monks Junta Military Rule Burma Nobel Peace Prize

Peaceful Protest
Leadership of the recent protest movement has been taken over by the monks, who hold a venerated place in Burmese society.

Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Protest Monks Junta Military Rule Burma Nobel Peace Prize

Soaring Tensions
In late August, a protest was staged by activists against rising fuel prices. In this photo, a labor leader, Su Su Nway, tries to prevent a plain-clothes police officer from arresting a comrade.

Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Protest Monks Junta Military Rule Burma Nobel Peace Prize

The Protests Continue
Despite warnings from the junta, the monks continue to march. Their numbers, and the numbers of civilians accompanying them have increased daily.

Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Protest Monks Junta Military Rule Burma Nobel Peace Prize

Confrontation
On September 26, 2007, riot police and soldiers block access to Shwedagon Pagoda, preventing the monks and laymen from entering Rangoon’s holiest shrine.

Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Protest Monks Junta Military Rule Burma Nobel Peace Prize

Crackdown
Tear gas fills the street, as security forces disperse protesters.

Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar Protest Monks Junta Military Rule Burma Nobel Peace Prize

Left Behind
Sandals and blood lie in the street after armed troops dispersed a crowd in Yangon, September 27, 2007.

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