Uphold democracy in Burma!

The Alliance of Progressive Labor and the Free Burma Coalition vehemently condemn the Burmese military forces’ brutal dispersal of the motorcade held by the supporters and members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) headed by its dissidentleader Aung San Suu Kyi last May 30. After the burst of gunfire, more than 50 people were reportedly dead and many more were injured that clearly showed the military junta’s utter disregard for human and political rights. The government, in a crackdown after the incident, is now holding Suu Kyi and other leaders of NLD that include its vice-chairman U Tin Oo.

The ruthless attack clearly shows that a military rule much less a dictatorship would never uphold democracy and rule of civil law. In fact, NLD won a landslide victory in the last Burma national elections in 1990 but the military junta prevented them from holding power that should have fully established democracy in Burma since 1962 when the military started ruling the country.

We identify with the Burmese people’s upheavals and miseries since the Filipino people once lived under a military dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. After more than 20 years, we found ourselves further entrenched into extreme poverty as tens of thousands were killed and tortured by the military to curtail civil and political rights and subvert the protest movement. Eventually, in 1986, the Filipino people deposed Marcos through a bloodless revolution. This cornerstone in our history proves that the people would not forever live under such abhorrent situation and would continuously long for freedom, rule of law, and a democratic system of government where the people could exercise their rights without fear and ruthless assault from the powers that be. And although some sectors in the ruling elite want to bring back the dark years of Martial Law through the terror bills now filed in congress, the Filipino people will not allow the bills to be promulgated into law.

Certainly, the attack against the human and political rights of the Burmese people is also an attack on our rights and to all freedom loving and pro-democracy movements in other parts of the world especially in the poor and underdeveloped countries like the Philippines.

The Filipino people share the struggles of the people of Burma in its call for an end to the military junta led by U Tin Thun and uphold democracy as the pathway to peace and progress. The APL also supports the position of the Initiatives for International Dialogue urging the Philippine government, particularly, Foreign Affairs secretary Blas Ople to demand from the Burma government the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of the NLD during the one week ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Phnom Penh starting today June 12.

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