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Burma's Military and Students Relations - 2004-07-11


Barely 5 months after the military coup that toppled the first democratically elected civilian government the regime headed by Gen. Ne Win flexed its muscles by gunning down protesting students at the Rangoon University campus.

Scores were killed on July 7, 1962 but that seemed not enough for the generals who the following day blew up the historic Students Union Building with dynamites.

"That senseless act forever changed the relations between the military and the students," said Professor "Kanbawza" Win, a former senior researcher at European Institute for Asian Studies.

Hla Pe Lay, a former Rangoon University faculty member said, "Years later the top generals denied their involvement in the incident, but they were all responsible as a group."

Pdao Mehn Tha-mein is an eyewitness of the 7 July massacre. He said, "It's almost half a century, but generations of students will never forget this day of infamy.

"The military considered the student as their enemy and vowed to crush their movement as soon as they took over power," said Tin Tut, a senior advisor to Members of Parliament, Australia.

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