Yangon, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar’s civilian and military leaders have jointly commemorated the anniversary of the assassination of the country’s independence hero, who was gunned down 72 years ago along with members of his cabinet.
Aung San died just months before the country — then called Burma — achieved its freedom from British colonial rule.
Myanmar’s current leader, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi — the daughter of Aung San — laid a wreath Friday at the solemn Martyrs’ Day ceremony in a park in Yangon.
Also present were President Win Myint, and the powerful military chief, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.
Myanmar emerged from decades of military dictatorship in the last few years, with an election in 2015 returning it to civilian-led rule. But the military still retains significant power through the country’s constitution, which it authored, and which is a prime source of growing tension between it and the civilian government.
As the ceremony was held, ordinary people in Yangon, too, showed their respect for Aung San and his murdered colleagues. Cars blared their horns in tribute and vendors sold commemorative items.
“I’ve come to pay my respects to General Aung San and the other martyrs,” said 26-year-old Sai Naw Kham, wearing a red Aung San bandanna over his forehead. “They are the good people of our country, and people we deeply respect.”