Remembering the Saffron Revolution, nearly one decade later
Buddhist monks yesterday gathered at Shwedagon Pagoda to commemorate the anniversary of the 2007 uprising and reflect on the changes over the nine years that have since elapsed.
A LEADER of the Saffron Revolution yesterday called for a “master plan” to eradicate poverty in Myanmar, at an event marking the ninth anniversary of the popular uprising, which was sparked by deteriorating economic conditions in the country.
U Pannya Vamsa said that any government, whether the dictatorial regime he helped rally people against nine years ago or a democratically elected administration, needed such a plan if it was to stave off popular discontent.
“If they are going forward without it, they would not be favoured by the people and Sangha monks would not be satisfied with their actions,” he said, using the official name for the Buddhist monastic order.
Another prominent monk, Ashin Sandar Thiri, used the ninth anniversary commemoration to call for furthering development, human rights and democratisation, saying the Saffron Revolution, while led by monks, reflected a fight for the interests of the lay population as well. That should include releasing Myanmar’s remaining political prisoners, he said.
Reading from a prepared statement, U Agga Yazar used the anniversary to urge Buddhists to follow the ways of the Buddha, avoiding instigation of members of other religions and races through propaganda or hate speech.
Members of Myanmar’s Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and Hindu communities attended yesterday’s ceremony in Yangon, which included a march by about 200 people to Shwedagon Pagoda, where prayers for peace were offered.
Though the Saffron Revolution played out over the course of several weeks, September 18 marks the day the monks announced that they would refuse donations from members of the military government and took to the streets en masse. Rising fuel and commodity prices had been stoking initial outrage for weeks, with the protests eventually spiralling to include calls for greater democratic freedoms.
A violent crackdown in October ultimately quelled the rebellion, with more than 100 people reportedly killed. Official government figures at the time put the casualty count much lower.
A ceremony commemorates the 2007 monk-led Saffron Revolution yesterday in Yangon.