Berkeley to Honor the People of Burma in Sixth Annual Flag Raising Ceremony

The City of Berkeley, which has a long tradition of opposing oppression, will fly a Burmese flag on Friday August 2nd to honor the 25th anniversary of the 1988 pro-democracy protests in Burma.

Widely known as "The 8/8/88 Uprising," the people of Burma took to the streets in 1988 to demand democracy and freedom, but were met with a brutal crackdown by the military regime. In marking Burma Day, the City of Berkeley has annually raised Burma's flags at City Hall since 2008. This Friday, flags will be raised at 8:08 AM during a ceremony from 8:00 to 9:00am in Civic Center Park, opposite the Maudelle Shirek Old City Hall at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Burmese community leaders from the bay area will attend, along with human rights activists from a wide range of organizations. Also in attendance, will be prominent Burmese activists from the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society, who have travelled to the United States for the first time to meet with American activists.

The city of Berkeley shows its solidarity with all the people of Burma amidst a fragile transition period for the country. Ruled for five decades by a brutal military junta, Burma has recently seen some democratic reforms implemented by President Thein Sein's nominally civilian government. In the past year, the United States has lifted nearly all sanctions on doing business in Burma, and companies are eagerly setting up shop in the once isolated country.

However, Burma is still plagued by human rights abuses, including ethnic violence, forced labor, the use of child soldiers, and the repression of free speech. Especially concerning is an epidemic of land grabbing in the country. Nearly two million acres of land have been forcefully confiscated from rural farmers, with no permission or compensation, and turned over to private investors. U Maung Maung Latt, president of the Burmese American Democratic Alliance (BADA), and one of the key organizers of the Burma Day commemoration stated: "Burma's government is widely corrupt, and cronyism is deeply rooted. Without further democratic reforms, investment in Burma's natural resources will likely fill the pockets of powerful military cronies, while depriving the rural people of their land and livelihoods."

At the flag raising ceremony on Friday August 2nd, BADA will be collecting signatures of support on letters to U.S. companies, urging responsible and transparent investment in Burma that respects both the environment and human rights.

For more information, please visit the website of Burmese American Democratic Alliance (BADA) at

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