Tuesday, August 30, 2011

ABFSU to restart political activity in Burma to test new government

Tuesday, 30 August 2011 11:04 Phanida

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – To test the new Burmese government’s openness to democracy, the student underground group All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) is ready to restart political activities inside the country.

A ceremony to mark the fourth anniversary of the revived
All Burma Federation of Student Unions was held on
Sunday at the home of Dr. Ne Win in Insein Township,
Rangoon. Photo: ABFSU
Han Win Aung, the group’s spokesman, said that to mark the fourth anniversary of the revived ABFSU, the pro-democracy student activists met on Sunday with more than 60 families of political prisoners in what it called a test of the new government. The ABFSU wants to be recognized as a legal organization, he said.

Without informing the authorities, the student activists organized a meeting with families of prisoners at the home of Phyo Phyo Aung, who is a member of the ABFSU, in Insein Township, Rangoon. In the meeting, parents of political prisoners discussed their sons and daughters and the current state of politics in Burma, especially in light of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s recent meetings with President Thein Sein and other government figures.

“We just want to test how the government will respond to our activity. It will show whether the two leaders are trying to negotiate just between themselves or trying to negotiate between the government and other organizations also and if these negotiations can help the people,” Han Win Aung said.

“This will be the beginning of our effort to start our activities in public with confidence. We do our work now unofficially, but we are active among the people and students to try to regain the organization’s role,” he said.

On May 8, 1936, the first students’ conference was held in Rangoon. The conference was organized by the Rangoon University Students’ Union, and it marked the formation of the All Burma Students’ Union (ABSU). In 1951, the ABSU changed its name to All Burma Federation of Student Unions to represent all students in Burma.

Among the topics discussed were the plight of political
prisoners and the current state of Burmese politics.
ABFSU members said they will renew their activities
inside the country to test the openness of the new
Burmese government. Photo: ABFSU
In 1962, the late General Ne Win’s “Revolution Council” launched a coup. On July 7, 1962, the army suppressed a peaceful demonstration by students in which many students were killed. The following morning the government dynamited the historic Student Union building.

In 1988, during widespread civil unrest and mass demonstrations in Burma, the ABFSU re-emerged under the leadership of student leaders including Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi, who are currently serving 65-year prison terms.

When the army launched a coup in 1988, many student leaders were arrested and many members fled to foreign countries.  In 2007, a new generation of students reorganized the ABFSU and named Kyaw Ko Ko its leader. In 2008, Kyaw Ko Ko was arrested and sentenced to eight years in prison.

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