Demon­stra­ble anger

Southeast Asia Globe - - Current Affairs -

Four Eights Up­ris­ing

On 8 Au­gust 1988, a vast cross-sec­tion of Myan­mar so­ci­ety poured into the streets of Yan­gon to join huge protests against the mil­i­tary regime. Late that evening, sol­diers opened fire on the non­vi­o­lent demon­stra­tors, and blood­shed en­sued for four days. Es­ti­mates of the num­ber of ca­su­al­ties range from the hun­dreds to tens of thou­sands. Weeks later, Aung San Suu Kyi an­nounced to half a mil­lion peo­ple that she was join­ing “this strug­gle for free­dom… in the foot­steps and tra­di­tions of my fa­ther”.

1973 Thai Pop­u­lar Up­ris­ing

Re­ferred to as the ‘Day of Great Sor­row’, the pop­u­lar up­ris­ing of 14 Oc­to­ber 1973 brought to an end the reign of mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor Thanom Kit­tika­chorn, and called for the in­tro­duc­tion of a per­ma­nent, demo­cratic con­sti­tu­tion. On that day, troops shot at pro­tes­tors, killing over 70 peo­ple and wound­ing hun­dreds more. The fol­low­ing day, news broke that Thanom had been driven into ex­ile by the up­ris­ing, restor­ing calm to the streets of Bangkok.

The 1998 Tragedy

In­done­sia fell prey to the mob in 1998 af­ter a run on the ru­piah, a by-prod­uct of the 1997 Asian Fi­nan­cial Cri­sis, which gave rise to crip­pling food short­ages and soar­ing unem­ploy­ment. Ten­sions had been grow­ing since an at­tack on the In­done­sian Demo­cratic Party’s head­quar­ters in July 1996, and came to a head in May 1998. Eth­nic Chi­nese com­mu­ni­ties were the main tar­get of vi­o­lence that raged across Medan, Jakarta and Su­rakarta and forced the res­ig­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Suharto. More than a thou­sand peo­ple were killed dur­ing the ri­ots.

Mass protest move­ments and up­ris­ings are noth­ing new in south­east Asia

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