Min Thu Ta – Thousands of locals enthusiastically greeted the 88 Generation Students Group when it arrived for a three-day tour of Ye Township that concluded November 13.
The group visited the township to meet local people and discuss Burma’s progress toward becoming a peaceful and transparent society, according to Than Lwin Times editor Min Min Nwe, who accompanied the tour.
“The leaders of the 88 Generation Students Group gave speeches explaining that during this period of transition to a legitimately democratic country, which is similar to what they have demanded inside Hlutaw [the Union Parliament], those who are outside Hlutaw have also made their demands. Those who are not [directly] involved with politics, including Buddhist monks, young students, public sector staff, and civil society members, should also take part for a stronger democracy.”
On the tour, the 88 Generation Students Group leaders also encouraged members of civil society to publicize unfair or threatening cases committed by local authorities through the media.
In a speech to meeting attendees in Ye Town that was transcribed on local Facebook forum Ye Ya-Ne, group leader Min Ko Naing said, “We have only one way to react to those who are trying to frighten us, which is to show that we are definitely not afraid of [them]. Then they cannot do anything.”
The tour’s first stop in Ye Township was on November 11 in Ye Town, where the group met with local residents at the Community Hall of Shwe San Taw pagoda. The following day, the group visited Azin Village on the mouth of the Ye River and Lamine Town for further public discussions. One night was spent in Kamarwat Village of Mudon Township, the birthplace and childhood home of prominent 88 Generation Students Group leader Min Zay Ya.
The group’s tour of Mon State started on November 9 and stopped in the towns of Belin, Kyaihto, Thaton, Paung, Kyaikmaraw, Mudon, and Thanbyuzayat, along with Moulmein, the capital of Mon State, before coming to Ye Township.
Throughout their tour, the group has hosted public meetings to discuss Burma’s fledgling democracy, the role community organizations can play by working alongside political parties, and the importance of civil society participation during the country’s transitional period.