NLD marks National Day

Nov 24, 2008 (DVB), The 88th Burmese National Day was marked at the National League for Democracy headquarters in Rangoon and in other towns in central Burma by pro-democracy activists on Saturday.

Around 400 people including NLD supporters, veteran politicians, ethnic national organisations and CRPP members attended the ceremony held at the party headquarters in Rangoon's Bahan township, according to NLD spokesman Nyan Win.

The NLD issued a statement urging the ruling junta to strive for national reconciliation and unity.

The ceremony was accompanied by a literary event with Mandalay poets Kyi Aung and Ko Lay (Inwa Gonyi) as the main speakers.

"I said that this is the era of national disunity and there is no national unity," Kyi Aung said.

"I urged [the people and government of Burma] to rebuild the unity."

Government officials surrounded the NLD headquarters and kept watch over the events but did not harass those attending, NLD members said.

Similar ceremonies were held at Mandalay Myoma National School and the Young Men's Buddhist Association, and at the home of veteran politician Thakhin Thein Pe in Rangoon.

Attendees sang patriotic songs, some of which have been barred from broadcast by state media, veteran politician Thakhin Chan Tun told DVB.Burmese National Day commemorates the beginning of the resistance to British colonial rule.

In 1920 Burmese students started a boycott against British colonial rule and opened national schools which brought forth renowned national leaders such as general Aung San, U Nu, U Ba Hein and U Thant, Nyan Win said.

The ruling military government has not marked the day since 1988 as it emphasises the role of students in the fight for freedom in Burma.

Reporting by Yee May Aung

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