London Supporters March Against Burma’s Ruling Regime
Hundreds of supporters joined a peaceful demonstration against Burma’s ruling dictatorship in Central London on Saturday, showing their solidarity and support for democracy.
Protesters including mothers with their babies marched past the seat of British government and Downing Street, official residence of the Prime Minister after the Buddhist monks threw petals into the River Thames near the Tate Britain art gallery, where the march started.
The street was filled with people carrying banners and placards of slogans such as ‘No More Bloodshed’ and ‘Free Aung San Suu Kyi’ as many marchers shouted with beats of drums and bells “Burma, Burma, Free, Free” in a rally led by a dozen of saffron-robed Buddhist monks. Wearing red headbands, some Burmese protesters marched singing “student union song” in Burmese as they chanted ‘Take action on Burma now’ in a call to the British government and the international organisations including the UN.
The march stopped at Trafalgar Square where the Buddhist monks in front of hundreds of protesters chanted prayers of ‘Loving-kindness’ for those suffering, peace and an end to the violence in Burma.
In a rally hosted by a Karen refugee Zoya Phan had special speakers including Glenys Kinnock MEP, Arene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International,John Bercow MP, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Burma, David Cuthbert of the International Trade Union Confederation, Aung Moe Zaw, Chairman of the Democratic Party for a New Society (DPNS) in Bumra and Myo Thein of Burma Campaign UK.
Glenys Kinnock MEP said to the rally,”We are telling the people of Burma that we will not ever waver from that solidarity with you that we are showing here today,” as she asked the Burma’s junta to stop shooting and intimidating and to release all political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi.
Amnesty International’s secretary general Irene Khan said, “Burma is not a human rights emergency of today, last week or last month. It is a human rights emergency that the world has chosen to forget for the last 20 years. We will not forget this time round, we will not let the people of Burma down. That is what we want for the people of Burma: freedom from fear.”
A political activist, Myo Thein of Burma Campaign UK, recalled what the military regime had brutally done to him as a prisoner, saying, “The regime wanted to break down our morality, psychology and spirit,” after showing the crowd a metal shackle that has been used for torture in the notorious Burmese prisons.
A Burmese student, Ko Htin expressed,”It’s really good and encouraging. Not only Burmese people in London but also the British and others come here. We are not alone and this will bring awareness of Burma’s plights to the whole world.”
Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Burma,John Bercow MP, who had been to the China-Burma, Thai-Burma and India-Burma borders, accused the UN of ‘delay’ in taking action on Burma. He told the protesters,”Too many people have suffered too much for too long with too little help,” as he called upon the British goverment and the international community to take decisive, urgent multilateral action on Burma.
“I am quite satisfied with the action today. I will be fully satisfied only when we get democracy,” a Chin participant, Pui-a told Chinland Guardian. A Christian pastor, who asked not to be named for security reasons, said,”We all come here together as one for Burma. God is for all the peoples. He hears our earnest prayers today for liberation of all the peoples in Burma.”
The London event was one of the global marches in different countries including rallies in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, India, the Irish Republic, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Thailand and the US.
Van Biak Thang
09 October, 2007