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VOA Examines 20th Anniversary of Pro-Democracy Protests in Burma

More than 3,000 Burmese lost their lives in the August 8, 1988, uprising

Washington, D.C., August 5, 2008 - The Voice of America's (VOA) Burmese Service is commemorating the 20th anniversary of pro-democracy demonstrations in Burma with special programs this week that examine the uprising and its impact on the country today.

Hundreds of thousands of Burmese demonstrated to protest political oppression and economic conditions in an uprising that began on August 8, 1988. The military government cracked down on demonstrators, crushing the movement and killing thousands of people

"This was a tragic event in Burma's history," said VOA Director Danforth W. Austin. "We at VOA cannot let the passage of time dim the memories of this movement in which more than 3,000 Burmese citizens lost their lives."

VOA's Burmese Service will look at the so-called 8888 (August 8, 1988) uprising from the perspectives of both the protesters and Burmese government officials.

Special coverage includes:

• Interviews with former student leaders who initiated and organized the protests;
• An exclusive interview with a former military intelligence officer on his account of how the military intelligence apparatus handled the crisis;
• An interview with former a Burma Communist Party leader, now living in exile in China.
• Discussion with well-known economists about the general economic crisis that led to the uprising; and
• Interviews with refugee families who resettled in the United States and those who spent years in prison for their role in the demonstrations.

Political analysts will also compare and contrast the 8888 uprising with 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement in China.

VOA's Burmese Service broadcasts six hours of radio daily. Broadcast times, frequencies, video, streaming, and web-based news is available at

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA ( broadcasts more than 1,250 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail