Saffron Revolution marks 8th anniversary

A view of the The Saffron Revolution in 2007 and some of the articles by the state owned papers on the revolution.

The Saffron Revolution that broke out in 2007 stunned the world and revealed the ruthlessness of the dictators.

The unreasonable hike in fuel prices during the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) regime sparked the conflict, and was opposed by a peaceful procession on August 29.

Shortly after that, hundreds of monks in Pakkoku, Magway Region, marched around the town reciting prayers and holding posters calling for measures to reduce commodity prices. The military fired guns to disperse the protest column.

The situation became messier when the three monk protestors were lassoed and beaten while being tied to a lamp post.

The Buddhist monk organisations gathered on September 9, and demanded the government to apologise for their wrongs, ease commodity and fuel prices, release Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners, and negotiate with the democracy forces for national reconciliation.

However, the then government failed to meet the demands till September 17 and the monks therefore staged a protest on September 18.

The monks arrived in the front of Suu Kyi’s residence amidst obstructions, and prayed for her.

Hundreds of thousands of people joined the crusade that started from September 24 including individuals of notable fame.

The riot police’s brutal crackdown on the assembly at the Shwedagon Pagoda killed at least five monks. All the rallies in Yangon, Mandalay and some other cities were dispersed by force.

It was surprising that the SPDC government ignored the demands of the monks and let the situation worsen.

The afermath of the raid in Ngwe Kyar Yan Monastery.

The authorities employed a paramilitary group called "Swan Arshin" to suppress the rallies as in Depayin Massacre.

The brutality of military dictators stunned the international community. According to reports at that time, some wanted to apologise to the monks but at last, the authorities chose to take violent actions against the monks and the people. Consequently, they faced international sanctions and were abhorred by the people.

It is the truth that the authoritarians suffered repercussion because of their worst deeds although the period of brutal crackdown in the saffron revolution was short.

The government's crackdowns on the movement in Yangon were so violent in places near the Shwedagon Pagoda and Kyaikkasan Road in Tamway Township. Some monks and public members lost their lives and some were put in jail.

Their sacrifices were not in vain, however. The people trying to escape from oppression still abhor dictatorial rule and want to rise against dictators. The acts of dogmatists who killed and tortured the Buddhist monks were strongly opposed.

Such acts will always face strong opposition. Any cruel acts of dictators will face revolution forever.

The saffron revolution has marked the eighth anniversary. But brutal acts of those dictators who treated the monks cruelly will shadow themselves for sure.   

A famous painting regarding the Saffron Revolution.

Some notable dates during the Saffron Revolution:

  • 5 September 2007

-Started at the three way point between Pakkoku Hospital, Park, and N.3 Middle Shool.

-Three monks were tied up to a lamp post and soldiers beat them with stocks of their guns.

-"Swan Arshin" started to use batons and wooden sticks for violence.

  • 18 to 27 September 2007

-A widespread surge in monks and civilian supporters marching on the roads, reciting and chanting mantras of love and peace.

  • 25 September 2007

-Brutal crackdown on monks at the Kyaython Pagoda, located at the eastern side of Shwe Dagon Pagoda.

  • 26 September 2007

-Chaos ensued at the eastern side of Shwe Dagon Pagoda with riot police and their smoke bombs.

-Ngwe Kyar Yan Monastery located at South Okkalapa Township gets raided.

  • 27 September 2007

-Kenji Nagai, a Japanese reporter, was shot and died.

-Religious Science Monastery and Moe Kaung Monastery in Yankin Township was raided.

  • 28 September 2007

-Mingalar Yama Monastery gets raided.