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Year of Burmese Protests Culminated in Coup

September 19, 1988|From Times Wire Services

RANGOON, Burma Here is a chronology of events leading to military commander Saw Maung's ouster of civilian President Maung Maung:

September, 1987--Government makes 80% of currency worthless, sparking first big street protests in 13 years.

March, 1988--Rioters storm through Rangoon setting fire to buildings and vehicles in weeklong disturbances after death of student in brawl.

June--Demonstrations spread to Mandalay and other cities as Burmese protest one-party rule, government repression, economic stagnation and Burma's isolation. Nine die in "rampage of destruction" in Rangoon.

July 16--Government admits 41 Rangoon students suffocated to death in police van in March. Prime Minister Maung Maung Kha resigns.

June 21--Rangoon put under 60-day curfew.

July 23--Ne Win, who had ruled Burma since a 1962 coup, resigns as chairman of the only political party, the Burma Socialist Program Party, and announces a referendum on one-party rule.

July 26--Sein Lwin, hard-line former security chief, named party chairman and president.

Aug. 8-11--Tens of thousands march in Rangoon and 14 other cities, and security troops fire on protesters. Government reports 112 killed in anti-government riots; others say hundreds died.

Aug. 12--Sein Lwin resigns after 17 days in office.

Aug. 19--Maung Maung, 63-year-old former judge, named to lead Burma.

Aug. 24--Maung Maung lifts martial law and curfews in Rangoon and other cities and announces a Sept. 12 congress of the ruling party to consider a referendum on multi-party elections.

Aug. 26--Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of national hero Aung San, tells mass rally that government should resign. At least 57 inmates die in riot at Rangoon's Insein jail; unofficial accounts say 400 to 700 killed.

Aug. 27--Former Defense Minister Tin Oo and other former officers call for interim government.

Aug. 29--U Nu, first prime minister after independence, and 20 leading Burmese form first major anti-government alliance.

Sept. 1--Independent newspapers appear, government press throws off censorship, radio and TV remain in the control of ruling party. Crowds march in Rangoon at start of general strike.

Sept. 8--Estimated 1 million people hold demonstrations and strikes.

Sept. 10--Ruling party declares an end to its monopoly of power and calls for multi-party elections at an unspecified date.

Sept. 12--Protesters reject plan for election under existing government. Defense Minister Saw Maung reaffirms army support for ruling party.

Sept. 16--Half a million people take to Rangoon streets for third consecutive day. Government directs all troops, police and civil servants to resign from ruling party to ensure free elections.

Sept. 17--Opposition scorns government move. Troops fire at demonstrators, wounding three.

Sept. 18--Rangoon Radio announces military takeover.

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