Burma’s military regime ensure their hold on power 3 years after Burmese monks’ protests

22 Sep 2010

On Wednesday 22 September, Burma Action Ireland will gather at the traffic island on O’Connell Bridge, in the centre of Dublin to commemorate the 3rd anniversary of Burma’s Saffron Revolution. The commemoration will mark the bravery and courage of hundreds of thousands of peaceful protestors and Buddhist monks who were subjected to a brutal crackdown by the Burmese military junta when they demonstrated on the streets of Burma in September 2007 in protest at the deteriorating living conditions and rising cost of fuel. Three years on, the Burmese military regime will hold shortly elections that will guarantee their hold on power under a new civilian dictatorship.

During the crackdown following the Saffron Revolution, the regime killed at least 31 people and detained up to 6,000 protestors, of which it is reported that several thousand were monks. Many were subjected to violent beatings and at least 18 detainees died in custody due to extremely harsh conditions.

On 7 November next, the Burmese military regime – known as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) – will hold general elections which will result in the enactment of the 2008 Constitution. The Constitution guarantees that the military will occupy 25% of the seats in Parliament and that 75% of the Parliamentary vote is required to make an amendment to the Constitution.

Earlier this year, the Election Commission, hand-picked by the military junta, promulgated electoral laws that place restrictions on parties’ freedom of expression, assembly and movement. Speaking today, Chairperson of Burma Action Ireland Keith Donald said: “Election candidates who want to address the public must apply for permission at least seven days in advance; they cannot give speeches or distribute materials that criticize the constitution or the military, nor can they chant slogans, march or carry flags as part of their rallies”. Keith Donald added: “monks and members of other religious orders have not been granted voting rights.”

In addition, the elections may not be held in many ethnic areas controlled by armed ethnic organizations that have signed cease-fire agreements but failed to transform into the Border Guard Force under the control of the regime’s army, or in other ethnic areas. Late last week, the military junta announced that polls are not being conducted in some ethnic Shan and Kachin areas.

Burma Action Ireland

email: info@burmaactionireland.org web: www.burmaactionireland.org