Red Campaign 8 Fingers Strike: Solidarity for the struggle of the Myanmar People

Today, the SERBUK Federation received submissions of several action photos from the brothers in Myanmar. In the photos, they are wearing red T-shirts with 8 finger gestures as part of a campaign titled “Red Campaign-8 fingers strike”. Min Lat, President of the Building and Woodworkers Federation of Myanmar (BWFM) said that the 8-finger action was an effort to commemorate events in the 1988 movement.

According to Min Lat, in 1988, the Myanmar military carried out repression against the masses who staged demonstrations in Myanmar. The events in 1988 killed thousands of Myanmar people, just like they did this year," Min Lat said in a short message to SERBUK. “Thousands of people were killed during the protests, the events peaked in August 1988,” Min Lat said. The protests started as a student movement and were mostly organized by students at Rangoon University of Arts and Sciences and Rangoon Institute of Technology (RIT).

The 1988 movement in Myanmar, started by student actions on August 8, 1988 and then spread throughout the country. Apart from students, hundreds of thousands of monks, children, housewives, doctors and poor people protested against the government. The massive action then ended on September 18 after a bloody military coup by the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). Thousands of deaths have been attributed to the military during these major protests, while the Government puts the deaths at only around 350.

Meanwhile, Phyo Sandar Soe, Secretary General of BWFM said that the action that was organized today was an effort to commemorate the 1988 movement. "We use the same theme to remember the events of 1988," said Sandar via text message. According to him, the repressive character of the military is always the same and they leave the face of terrible cruelty. "The debt in 1988 must be paid in 2021," said Sandar.

From Indonesia, the chairman of the Indonesian Federation of People's Trade Unions (SERBUK) Usman Sofyan expressed deep solidarity for the struggle of the Myanmar people who continue to fight for democracy. According to him, the struggle in Myanmar must be supported by global solidarity to support the struggle against the military regime that carried out the coup. "As part of BWI, we express our support and solidarity for BWMF friends and all Myanmar people," said Usman.

The campaign with 8 finger gestures is an integral part of the previous campaign in the form of 3 finger gestures. Initially, the demonstration used the 3-finger gesture, as a symbol of resistance to the military coup. This action was inspired by a similar action in Thailand when it resisted a military coup (2014). The 3-finger gesture, they are adaptation of the popular fiction, The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins). Its reverberation is the attempt to reject the military government and support the Government of National Unity (NUG) formed by ousted MPs, along with pro-democracy figures and activists.

In April 2021, SERBUK Indonesia also joined the Gowes for Democracy movement which was initiated by the civil society movement in Indonesia as an effort to reject the arrival of General Min Aung Hlaing, the leader of the military coup at the ASEAN Leaders Meeting in Jakarta in April 2021.