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Burmese students join London march
AS PART of a day of protest in cities worldwide, thousands of Burmese students were among the marchers in London on 6 October, with red headbands and vociferous demands for an end to dictatorship in Burma.
Many expressed concern for their families and for the leaders of street demonstrations put down by force. Communications are blocked, night raids continue and thousands are held by the military.
Yet the demonstrators were also celebrating the Burmese protesters' heroism and the worldwide solidarity.
There was anger at foreign firms supporting the brutal, corrupt regime but also a realistic acceptance that neither economic sanctions nor declarations from international bodies will bring about its downfall. "If European firms pull out, the gap is filled by Chinese or Indian firms," demonstrators said.
One of the march's main slogans was 'Free Aung San Suu Kyi!' – leader of the opposition NLD party held in great respect.
Her release would be a real sign that the regime was cracking, but many were wary of a compromise with the generals. Any democratic rights they are forced to concede should be used to step up the struggle for a lasting solution.
The main task is to organise in Burma, especially in the workplaces, to achieve coordinated action, up to and including a general strike.
Veterans of Burma's 1988 rising, on the London march, agreed that once workers are on the move, a concerted appeal to soldiers could break the army and pave the way for victory.
In Burma the idea of 'socialism' is associated with the generals' takeover of power in 1962.
Despite this, on this demonstration, our Socialist Party petitions, leaflets and newspaper were warmly appreciated. Generous donations were still coming in after all copies of the socialist had gone!
In The Socialist 11 October 2007:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
What we think
War and terrorism
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Workplace news and analysis