Protest commemorates 8-8-88
By Lara Pullen
CANBERRA — A rally on August 8 outside the Burmese embassy commemorated the eighth anniversary of the popular democratic uprising in which thousands were killed by the Burmese military. Three hundred exiled Burmese and their Australian supporters remembered fallen comrades and demanded "victory and freedom for the Burmese people".
The prime minister of the US-based National Coalition Government of Burma, Dr Sein Win, urged Australia to impose a trade boycott on Burma's military junta, the State Law and Order Restoration Council, and to reject the Association of South-East Asian Nations' policy of "constructive engagement".
"The tragedy of 8-8-88 has given birth to a momentum which will not die — a movement for democracy, the real strength of which lies in those who still continue to struggle within Burma despite the very real repression and violence of the junta", said Sein Win.
Democrat Senator Vicki Bourne said that Australian trade delegations to Burma averaged two per week in 1995-96, double that of the previous year.
Rally organisers foreshadowed the launch of the boycott campaign by Sein Win at the National Press Club on August 22. A statement from Burmese youth pledging to continue the struggle until the military government has been overthrown was distributed by the All Burma Students Democratic Front.