Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Soo Kyi, center, gives a speech beneath the fighting-peacock banner that symbolized the 8888 Uprising. The 8888 Uprising (named for the date on which it reached its peak, August 8, 1988) was a major series of democratic protests in Myanmar. Today, the fighting peacock emblem is the flag of Soo Kyi's political party, the National League for Democracy.

Photograph by Htoo Tay Zar, courtesy Wikimedia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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  • On August 8, 1988, thousands of citizens protested the authoritarian government of Myanmar (Burma), leading to a crackdown that did not end for more than a decade. The protests were nicknamed the 8888 Uprising to mark the date (8-8-88) of the rebellion.
    Protesters, including students, Buddhist monks, and workers, demanded democracy. This included freedom of speech and the press, as well as greater representation in government. (The nation had been ruled by a one-party military government for more than 20 years.) Aung San Suu Kyi, whose father (Aung San) led the Burmese struggle for independence in the 1940s, emerged as the powerful leader of the protests.
    The Burmese government violently quashed the uprising. Thousands of protesters were killed or arrested. Aung San Suu Kyi herself was placed under house arrest, unable to leave her home. She was released in 2010 and was quickly elected to Myanmar’s new, more democratic government.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    arrest Verb

    to take into legal custody.

    authoritarian Adjective

    form of leadership where individual power is limited and the power of a single leader or group of leaders is strengthened.

    Buddhist Noun

    person who follows the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha).

    citizen Noun

    member of a country, state, or town who shares responsibilities for the area and benefits from being a member.

    crackdown Noun

    severe enforcement of laws or other rules.

    decade Noun

    10 years.

    democracy Noun

    system of organization or government where the people decide policies or elect representatives to do so.

    emerge Verb

    to develop or come into view.

    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    house arrest Noun

    confinement of an arrested person to a single location, such as a home or hospital.

    independence Noun

    state or situation of being free.

    military Noun

    armed forces.

    monk Noun

    person who has withdrawn from everyday society and lives in service to a religious order.

    protest noun, verb

    demonstration against a policy or action.

    quash Verb

    to subdue completely.

    rebellion Noun

    organized resistance to an authority.

    representation Noun

    action taken on behalf of another person, group of people, or organization.

    uprising Noun

    revolt or rebellion.