Martyrs' day invitations withdrawn

Jul 15, 2008 (DVB), Foreign embassies and diplomats in Rangoon have been notified that invitations they received from the military regime inviting them to a martyr's day commemoration event on 19 July have been withdrawn.

The Burmese regime sent out a second batch of letters to the embassies to cancel the invitations.

It is not clear whether the event will still go ahead without the presence of foreign embassy personnel.

A diplomat told DVB that no reason had been given for the regime's decision.

"We don't know the reason behind the cancellation of the invitations or whether or not the commemoration is still being held," the diplomat said.

"The Martyrs' Day commemoration is organised by the government's Cultural Ministry every year," he went on.

"All we can say at the moment is that there will be no foreign diplomats attending it this year."

Martyrs' day commemorates the day in 1947 when nine people, including general Aung San and other independence leaders, were assassinated.

Burma holds an annual ceremony to mark the day at the Martyrs' Mausoleum in Bahan township, Rangoon.

Reporting by DVB

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