Last Friday, I stumbled upon a rally in solidarity with the Burmese people at the Civic Center. It was part of Amnesty International’s 50 years of activism 3-day conference at UC Hastings, College of the Law. The march, which preceded the election in Myanmar (formerly Burma) on Sunday, was calling for the immediate release of democracy leader (and Nobel Prize winner) Aung San Suu Kyi and the other 2,000-plus prisoners jailed for peaceful activism. Several Burmese associations in the Bay Area marched alongside the usual local activist types.
Sunday’s elections were the first in 20 years, and as expected the military junta-backed party won. The opposition party (led by San Suu Kyi) had decided to boycott the poll, and the majority of world leaders reacted with scathing condemnation. However, and in spite of worldwide demonstrations like the one in San Francisco, it doesn’t look like much is going to change in Myanmar and democracy will continue to be ignored. But one can only hope. San Suu Kyi’s detention expires on November 13, but some fear Burma’s military regime may find a reason to extend it as has been the case in the past.