For Immediate Release

st

August 5, 2009

August 8, 2009 marks the 21 anniversary of Burma’s Nationwide Democracy Uprising also known as the 8/8/88 uprising: – millions of people marched and demanded the restoration of democracy in Burma and an end to the military dictatorship which had ruled the country since 1962. The military brutally cracked down on the peaceful demonstrators and killed over 3000 people including monks and students. Aung San Suu Kyi emerged as the leader of democracy movement and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won 82% of the parliamentary seats in the 1990 elections. The people of Burma had overwhelmingly rejected military rule yet the military refused to transfer power to Burma’s democratically elected leaders. Noble Peace Prize Winner and Honourary Canadian Citizen Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for 14 of the past 20 years. Today, she is the world’s only Noble Peace Prize Laureate in prison. There are over 2100 political prisoners in Burma’s notorious prisons. In September 2007, hundreds of thousands of people, led by thousands of Buddhist monks marched peacefully against the State Peace and Development Council, the military junta that has held the country in an iron grip for 40 years. The world again witnessed a merciless crack-down on peaceful protestors: - hundreds of monks and people including a Japanese journalist were brutally killed on the streets; thousands more were arrested and tortured in prisons. Foreign TV crews were suddenly banned from the country, leaving undercover video journalists armed with small hand-cams to capture the truth behind the events. The award winning documentary film “Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country” was the outcome of the efforts of those brave undercover Burmese video journalists. Burma VJ is an insightful and dramatic document of history as it unfolds. On August 8, 2009, Burmese activists and Canadian supporters will gather in front of The Royal Theatre in Toronto to support a week long film screening of “Burma VJ”, and to remember the thousands of heroes who sacrificed their lives for democracy in Burma during the 8/8/88 democracy uprising and the 2007 Saffron Revolution. Place:

The Royal Theatre
608 College Street (College and Clinton), Toronto

Date: Time: Program includes:

Saturday, August 8, 2009 6:15 pm Buddhist monks from Burmese, Sri Lanka, Tibet and Cambodia temples – followed by Burmese activists and supporters with colourful Buddhist flags and the students Fighting Peacock flags similar to those used in the 1988 and 2007 uprisings. Speakers in the theatre: the Vice President of the International Burmese Monks Organization based in New York; Myanmar (Burma) Coordinator Amnesty International; and a Burmese democracy activist. These will be followed by Q & A session after the film.

For further information contact: Zaw Wai Kyaw 416 358 2318, Paul Copeland 416 578 0386