By Kyaw Ye Lynn
YANGON, Myanmar (AA) - A long queue of people was seen in Yangon, Myanmar on Friday as the country commemorated nine men -- two of them Muslims -- who were assassinated 72 years ago as heroes for its independence.
Eight leaders of the pre-independence interim government including General Aung San, father of State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, and a bodyguard were gunned down at the Yangon Secretariat -- the seat of the then-British Colony's government -- on July 19, 1947, a year before Myanmar would achieve independence.
Myanmar President Win Myint, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and other top leaders including military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing attended the state ceremony held at the Martyrs’ Mausoleum in the country's capital.
Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, one of Myanmar’s top military officers, is the possible subject of a genocide investigation, as last September an independent UN international fact-finding mission called on the International Criminal Court to launch a probe into the general for the genocide of the Rohingya Muslims.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar’s civilian-led government since April 2016, has been fiercely condemned for her administration's active involvement "in the commission or perpetuation of multiple human rights violations," according to Amnesty International.
National flags were flown half-mast in buildings and vehicles as a siren was sounded through radios, televisions, and phones on Friday morning to mark the time of the assassination of the martyrs who are seen as heroes who sacrificed their lives for the country’s independence.
In Yangon, several thousand people lined up at the entrance to the Martyrs’ Mausoleum to pay tribute to the martyrs, while crowds thronged to their statues, the Secretariat Office and the General Aung San Museum.
"I always bring my daughter here every year since she was six because I want her to value the country’s independence and remember the national heroes," said Hyat Ngwe while waiting his turn to enter the Martyrs’ mausoleum.
However, only a few dozen, mostly Muslims, visited a cemetery in downtown Yangon where lie two more martyrs -- Education and National Planning Minister Abdul Razak, and his bodyguard Ko Htwe who were assassinated alongside General Aung San.
A Buddhist man and a poet, Tin Thit, told Anadolu Agency over phone that he visited the cemetery to pay tributes to U Razak and Ko Htwe.
U is Burmese honorific name for an elder man.
"Every year, we first visit the Martyrs’ Mausoleum, then we visit the Muslim cemetery in Tarmwe township," he said.
"Those who sacrificed their lives for the country should be honored and remembered regardless the religion and race," he said.