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Karen Revolution Day - 63rd Anniversary

Photographer: Rungroj Yongrit

 

The excitement was perceptible on this 31 January 2012 in Oo Kray Kee village in Karen State, Maynamar, when about 500 people gathered to celebrate the 63rd anniversary of the Karen Revolution Day. Some came from neighbouring villages. Others crossed the Thai border to participate in the festivities as they now live in refugee camps after their homes were burnt down and destroyed by Burmese troops during what was considered one of the world's oldest conflict. Wearing the traditional attire, villagers prepared to attend the parade of about 200 Karen National Union (KNU) fighters though the village and the commemoration of this remembrance day.

 

Karen communities in Yangon were attacked on 31 January 1949 by Burmese soldiers after the British Empire had left the country. In 1996, troops overran the KNU's military headquarters in Manerplaw, Karen State, turning the Karens into a guerilla force. Over the past 16 years, fighting in the Karen State forced more than 145,000 Karens to flee their homes for refuge in camps in Thailand. In January 2012, the KNU signed a preliminary cease-fire agreements with Myanmar government to their 63-year-old armed insurgency. Peace talks bewtween the Myanmar government and the Karen National Union are still going on.