Demo in Aotea Square, Auckland
Sat 29th Sept 2pmDemonstrate your solidarity with the revolution breaking out in Burma against 20 years of brutal military rule. SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER: Naing Ko Ko. pro democracy activist (Federation of Trade Unions Burma) and former political prisoner.
"The peaceful people's revolution in Burma against an oppressive and brutal military dictatorship now faces a crucial few days, as the Junta declares it will crack down on protests and demonstrations with the utmost of severity. But the huge marches in Rangoon, Mandalay and other major cities that have been led by monks, have now been joined by students and workers. Solidarity Union calls on workers and students here in Aotearoa to come and show your support for our courageous brothers and sisters in Burma this Saturday, 2pm, in Auckland's Aotea Square. Please bring your union or organisation banners and placards calling for freedom for Burma. This world does not need a horrific repeat of the massacres of 1988. "
Special speaker at the rally in Auckland will be Naing Ko Ko, a trade union and democracy activist with the Burmese Federation of Trade Unions, who was jailed and tortured for six years by the military dictatorship. The rally is also supported by the CTU, the Service and Food Workers Union, Amnesty International, AUSA Greens on Campus, Socialist Worker, the Space Inside Social Centre and Radical Youth. We appeal to other community groups to come and stand with Naing and the Burmese people in solidarity, and demand that the NZ Government has no truck with the military butchers or the companies that are profiting from Burmese slave labour.
- Joe Carolan
Solidarity Union Secretary
One way to support the struggle for democracy in Burma is to put pressure on international companies that still has trade relations with the regime. According to the International Labour Organization of the UN, ILO, as well as the democratic opposition in Burma, it is impossible to engage in economic activity in Burma without providing the junta with direct or indirect support. For that reason the international trade union movement has published a list of companies with links to Burma. Together we can encourage the companies to abandon those links, thereby putting pressure on the regime.
You can read the list on: http://www.global-unions.o
Over the past month, thousands of monks and civilians have been protesting in cities across Burma, demanding an end to injustice. The protests have now grown into the largest public demonstrations since 1988.
Peaceful protestors took to the streets of Burma on 19th August following fuel price increases of up to 500 percent. The dictatorship responded to the first protests with a brutal crackdown on democracy activists. On the eve of a major protest in Rangoon on 22 August, the regime arrested 13 leading democracy activists in midnight raids. Despite intimidation, including brutal attacks on protestors by regime thugs, hundreds of demonstrators have continued to protest.
More than 150 people have been arrested and most remain in detention. The regime has accused peaceful protestors of involvement in terrorism, and is threatening jail terms of up to 20 years. Those arrested face torture, including beatings, electric shocks, burning, and the ‘iron rod’ where a rod is run up and down on the shins until the skin and flesh are removed and the rod is grinding on bone. High profile members of the 88 Student Generation of democracy activists Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Ko Mya Aye, Ko Yin Htun and Ko Jimmy are among those arrested.
FROM THE BBC-
State television said the demonstrations of the past week were being fomented by communists and exiled media and student groups.
Savvy young bloggers in Burma are breaking through the military junta's tight internet controls to post photos and videos of swelling anti-government protests, experts say.
The Government blocks almost every website that carries news or information about the South-East Asian country, and even bars access to web-based email.
But an army of young techies in Rangoon works around the clock to circumvent the censors, posting pictures and videos on blogs almost as soon as the protests happen.
Many of these images have been picked up by mainstream news organisations because bloggers have managed to capture images that no one else can get.
When Burma's detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi stepped outside her home in Rangoon to greet marching monks and supporters on Saturday, the only pictures of the landmark moment were posted on blogs.
Mizzima News, an India-based news group run by exiled dissidents, picked up one of the photos of Aung San Suu Kyi and said more than 50,000 people accessed their website that day.
"People were saying they wanted to see more pictures of Aung San Suu Kyi," said Sein Win, Mizzima's managing editor.
The bloggers are mainly young university students in Rangoon who have made it their mission to post messages and pictures since the anti-junta rallies broke out there on August 19, he said.
"We have many volunteers in Rangoon. They are mostly university students and they keep sending us messages, pictures and video clips about the demonstrations."
Messages on blogs have applauded Buddhist monks, who have led the protest movement. The movement has grown into the biggest challenge to the junta since a 1988 uprising that was crushed by the military, killing at least 3000.
"Many people were thanking monks for their courage and were rallying support behind monks," Sein Win said from Thailand's northern city of Chiang Mai.
"The censorship is very tough, but many people want the world to know what is happening in Burma."
The California-based Mandalay Gazette also said young people in Rangoon were supplying pictures on the protests.
"It's encouraging to see messages of support coming as far as from Russia, and some messages said monks were correcting the junta's 'wrongdoing'," said a US editor, who declined to be named.
A Thai-based Burmese reporter from the Democratic Voice of Burma, a Norway-based broadcaster, said it had received video clips and photos from "many volunteers" in Rangoon since the protests began last month.
"The quality of pictures from Rangoon is very good. Many young people were helping us and the junta cannot control our freedom of information," said the reporter, who operates anonymously for safety reasons.
The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders has called Burma a "paradise for censors" and listed the military-ruled nation as one of the world's most restrictive for press freedoms.
Since the protests, the regime has cut off the mobile phones of prominent pro-democracy supporters and of some journalists representing foreign media.
State media today accused the foreign press of stirring unrest.No foreign journalist has obtained a visa to enter Burma, under military rule since 1962, since the start of the anti-junta rallies, rights groups said
Democracy for Burma now!
support the people power revolution against the Military Junta
Saturday, September 29, 2007
2:00pm - 3:00pm