YANGON, Myanmar – More than two dozen political activists were briefly detained by the authorities of Burma in response to the celebration, scheduled for Saturday, the fiftieth anniversary of a brutal military repression waged against a student movement.
Although they have all been released after about 24 hours, their colleagues denounced the detentions, saying that this was a proof of the still repressive Burmese government again. President of Burma, Thein Sein, has recently implemented democratic reforms have been welcomed across the world.
The leader of the National Student Federation of Burma (ABFSU), Kyaw Ko Ko, said 23 people were arrested in the crackdown that began Friday night. The ABFSU had organized the holding of the memorial events of 7 July 1962.
At that time, students from Rangoon, the largest city in the country, had gathered to demonstrate against the military regime of General Ne Win, who seized power four months ago.
The protesters were dispersed by security forces, and the next day, the army had shelled the building housing the Student Association of the University of Rangoon. Dozens of students were killed in the course of this military operation.
The coup by Ne Win in 1962, has been the start of the takeover of a repressive military junta, whose reign was spread over nearly fifty years.
President Thein Sein, a former general, was propelled to power with army support after the 2010 general election. He introduced reforms, among them reconciliation with the main figure of the Burmese opposition, Aung San Suu Kyi. These changes are also an attempt to froth the country’s economic development and were well received by the international community.
Among those briefly detained included several activists who had been released from prison in January, under the amnesty for political prisoners announced, Kyaw Ko Ko explained this relaxation is part of the liberalization policies initiated by the government Thein within.