Thursday, September 27, 2007

Burma - an update

Medical workers help a monk injured in clashes in Rangoon 26 Sep. 2007 (MoeMaka Media photo)

80-year-old disabled monk protester 'bashed'
Agence France-Presse, September 26, 2007

Rangoon, Burma -- At least 17 Buddhist monks were injured when Burma's security forces violently dispersed their peaceful anti-junta protest today, witnesses said.

All 17 were injured around midday when police baton-charged a group of monks and mainly young protesters near the Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar's holiest shrine, the witnesses said.

Among the wounded was an 80-year-old monk who witnesses said was beaten about the head by security forces.

The elderly monk has participated in the daily anti-junta protests in Rangoon although he cannot walk and has to be carried.

Hospital officials have refused to comment on any injuries stemming from the crackdown.

Despite the violence, tens of thousands of people remained on the streets of Yangon, scattered across the city, witnesses said.

In the outlying township of Ahlone, about 300 monks protested but were blocked by armed soldiers who began firing over their heads, witnesses said.

The monks urged the people to stay away from the protest, but when the bullets started whizzing overhead, hundreds of people sat on the ground around the monks in a show of solidarity, the witnesses said.

"I felt so sorry when I saw this scene. I've never seen this kind of violence. I feel so sorry for the monks," one woman said by telephone from Ahlone.

At the Sule Pagoda in downtown Rangoon, security forces tried to use tear gas and warning shots to disperse the crowd, but thousands kept returning to taunt the soldiers.

As the day wore on, some protesters began to throw stones at the soldiers, who responded with more warning shots, witnesses said.

At least one man was seen being carried away after he was injured when thousands of people began running from the tear gas.

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Beating Myanmar monks ‘greatest wrong in history’ - NLD
Agence France-Presse, Sept 26, 2007

YANGON, Myanmar -- Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party said Wednesday Myanmar's military regime had committed "the greatest wrong in history" by beating Buddhist monks.
The party led by the detained democracy icon said it had warned the government before Wednesday's protest that attacking the monks would be seen by the public as a grave crime.

"We warned the authorities in advance that if they used violence against the peaceful protest marches, they would have committed the greatest wrong in history," the party said in a statement.

"The NLD asks to hold a dialogue immediately to solve all the nation's problems peacefully," it said.

"The NLD will stand together with the people," it added.

Burmese Capital Tense after military junta crackdown - Report by Voice of America 27 Sept 2007

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