Lead:  In the half-century since winning independence from Britain in 1948, Myanmar, more commonly known as Burma, failed to establish a stable, prosperous democracy.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Even during those years in which a civilian government ostensibly ruled, the hand of the military was not far from the levers of power. Periods of relative progress, internal peace and economic recovery were punctuated by times of turmoil and repression. By 1988, the military was in charge once again. Student protests against the regime had reached fever pitch.  The socialist government under former general U Ne Win fell and the armed forces under General Saw Maung, seized direct control of the government. The military moved to suppress the demonstrations and thousands of unarmed protesters were killed. Martial law was imposed over most of the country, and constitutional government was replaced by SLORC, the State Law and Restoration Council.