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Special Update on the Global Day of Action

By Burma Partnership  •  May 28, 2010

From the Thai-Burma border to Delhi, from Manila to San Francisco, dozens of groups around the world—often partnerships between Burmese communities and solidarity groups—staged a Global Day of Action, denouncing the military’s “selection,” and calling for genuinely democratic “people’s elections.”

Here are some highlights, with more to come in Monday’s Weekly Highlights. If you haven’t already seen U Win Tin’s op-ed on ASEAN and Burma’s Elections in the Jakarta Post yesterday, you can read it here.

Philippines

One hundred protesters from the Free Burma Coalition-Philippines staged mock balloting in front of the junta embassy in Makati City, Manila. The protesters, one by one, dropped their mock ballots into a huge replica of a ballot box – marking the vote for Real Elections and Not Military Selection. The protesters shouted slogans calling for the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners as they wave their “Peoples’ Ballot” and await their turn to ‘vote’.  Representatives from participating organizations took turns in calling on the regime to step down and pave the way to genuine democratization in the country. A similar protest action was also staged in Davao City.

Thailand

Groups from around Mae Sot held a ceremony to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 1990 elections and participated in People’s Elections as part of the Global Day of Action. The ceremony included recorded footage from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, several speakers reflecting on their personal experience of the 1990 elections and their positions on upcoming elections, and a performance from comedic trio Thee Lay Thee.

Following the ceremony, ballots with the options “Real Election” or “Military Selection” were distributed to audience members; participants unanimously voted for a “Real Election”, casting their ballots one by one amid flashing photography and much fanfare. Revolutionary songs by young political activists set the mood for the action and farcical masks mocking the SPDC painted with “NO – 2010” provided a cover of anonymity for some voters.

Indonesia

Indonesia kicked off the first parliamentary hearing in the ASEAN region for the Global Campaign Against Burma’s 2010 Military Elections. Representing the Ten Alliances, Hkun Okker and Khin Ohmar gave a presentation on the regime’s planned elections and prospects for democracy in Burma at the Indonesian Parliament Commission I on Foreign Affairs, Defense, Communication and information in Jakarta on May 25th, at an event organized by the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC). The delegation called on Indonesian Parliament to pass a similar resolution to the resolution adopted by European Parliament last week, to denounce the military elections and not recognize the results unless the regime changes course and meets the three essential benchmarks.

Following the event, the delegation representing AIPMC and the Ten Alliances held a press conference at parliament. They also held meetings with Indonesian press, briefing them on the military elections and the movement’s position to boycott the elections and appealing to the Indonesian Parliament to denounce them.

On May 27th, SIB organized a public seminar on the elections, as a part of the Global Day of Action,. Speakers included Khin Ohmar of Burma Partnership, Nang San Myat of Pa-O Women’s Union, and Mr. Ir. Dadoes Soemarwanto, an Indonesia MP and member of AIPMC.

India

India-based Burmese democracy activists held a demonstration and people’s elections, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, collecting over 3,600 postcard “ballots” from members of the Burmese community residing in India, voting for Burma’s pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and in support of a democratic Federal Union.

Japan

Over one hundred activists gathered at the Burmese embassy in Tokyo, calling for the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners, and calling on the SPDC to meet the benchmarks set out by the democracy movement. The event, which is first of several events this week marking the 1990 elections, was organized by the National League for Democracy-Liberated Area-Japan Branch, other members of the Burmese community, and the People’s Forum on Burma.

Bangladesh

Burma groups in Bangladesh began conducting “People’s elections” in Alakhondon and Bandraban on May 26th and in Panachorah, near Cox’s Bazaar, on May 27th.

United States

The Burmese American Democratic Alliance (BADA) and the Bay Area Burmese Democratic Forces jointly organized a demonstration in San Francisco to commemorate the Global Day of Action.

Sri Lanka

Friends of the Third World, and a diverse array of activists and Buddhist and Christian religious leaders held a protest outside the Burmese embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka. They also used the occasion to launch the postcard campaign in Sri Lanka.

Please see our special section on the Global Day of Action on the Campaign website, which we will continue to update as we receive photos and details on more events happening this weekend.

For more photos from GDA events around the world, see here.

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