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