The calls to British Embassy and US Embassy were made once we left the school. It was not because we were the followers of them. It was because we need the world to know what we were doing as well as for all the students’ security. Due to large present of international journalists in Rangoon that time, which was a blessing for us, the junta didn’t dare use the force in front of them.
The students arrived the Hledan junction, turned onto Pyay Road and gathered in front of Marlar hostel and Judson college where we were joined by more students from RC2 (Hlaing campus), GTI, Eco, and master students from Rangoon University. Embassy cars from Britain and US were present with us along with another one which country I was not so sure (South Korea I think).
Around 6pm, we moved towards the centre of Hledan Junction. More donations were received and we ate more bananas. (Honestly, I had only bananas and water in my stomach for more than 24 hours.) It was declared around 8pm that we already had more than 400,000 kyats. For a country with average salary of modest 1500 kyat a month (probably even lower), the figure was tremendous.
By the night fall, we experienced many unhappy scenes. One after another, students were pulled out of the group by their mothers, most of them crying badly. Most of the students pleaded their parents to let them stay but in vain. Although we all knew their actions were for the good of their children, we felt that we had to set aside our fears to achieve the goal we were seeking for. (Thankfully, my parents didn’t come for me and I thank them everyday for letting me do what I believe.) In within a couple of hour, we lost more than half of the strength. Some went back with parents, some left on their own. Yet, we still had nearly a thousand and the strike continued.
The news about the junta placing blockade on Pyay, Inya and Innsein roads leading towards Hledan since evening and rumors of imminent strike by riot polices reached us throughout the night. Nevertheless, we hold our ground and continued our strike under the dancing peacock flag(which we managed to fly upon reaching Hledan) and under the watchful eyes of our beloved Bogyoke. We didn’t feel sleepy at all and the demonstrators (we were joined by high school students and ordinary people then) listened to the speeches, sang the national anthem and shouted the demands. (These events were recorded by some journalists and shown on CNN.) At around 4 am, the march started towards downtown via Kann Narr Road.
Disclaimer: My views were added because I still can’t hide my feelings of disappointment until today. I strongly believe the reason 96 uprising fell short was mainly because ordinary people were too afraid to join as well as too afraid to lose their children. Having said that, I do not mean to attack any parents for their acts but I want them or anyone who read this to learn or to analyze what it should have been otherwise. There is always a chance Burma could face the same situation again and hence it is always good to learn from past mistakes.