Since 1948, every 19 July in Myanmar has been Martyrs’ Day. The date was selected to commemorate the sad day in 1947 when Myanmar’s seven top independence leaders were all assassinated. They were killed while the met together in Yangon.
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There was great suspicion that the British colonial government was behind the assassinations, in conjunction with a pro-colonial political party. Even before independence many of those who carried out the brutal assassination raid were tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. Some of the minor players were sentenced to prison, and even a British soldier was convicted for involvement in the conspiracy.
Myanmar became independent on 4 January 1948. The new president of the country refused to pardon those convicted of the massacre of 19 July.
After independence, Martyrs’ Day was very quickly declared a national holiday and has been ever since. On this day, many of Myanmar’s leaders will visit the Martyrs’ Mausoleum in the capital city of Yangon to show their respect for their country’s martyred founding fathers.