Monday, September 24th, 2007


The Burmese military has directly threatened monks involved in protests in the country in a nationwide media address for the first time since fuel prices were increased last month.
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The largest street protests in two decades against Myanmar’s military rulers gained momentum Sunday as thousands of onlookers cheered huge columns of Buddhist monks and shouted support for the detained pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
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The mass demonstrations by Burmese monks and the general public grew still further on Monday, joined by members of the opposition National League for Democracy, popular celebrities and 50 successful candidates in the 1990 general election.
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As many as 100,000 anti-government protesters led by a phalanx of Buddhist monks marched Monday through Yangon, the largest crowd to demonstrate in Myanmar’s biggest city since a 1988 pro-democracy uprising that was brutally crushed by the military.
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The Burmese military junta has issued a new order to Rangoon based journals and periodicals to publish a declaration denouncing the ongoing protests led by monks, a Burmese media watch dog in exile said.
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Twenty thousand people, including nuns, monks and ordinary Burmese, marched through the streets of Rangoon yesterday demanding freedom for Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate, in a dramatic escalation of the country’s Buddhist-led “Saffron Revolution”.
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From a warehouse-like building in Norway’s capital, a tiny broadcast network called the Democratic Voice of Burma is struggling to provide news and encouragement to countrymen rising up against the military dictatorship at home.
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Ethnic parties in Burma have joined the protesting monks and Burmese general public in the nationwide demonstrations, according to some top ethnic leaders.
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A group of Thai non-governmental organisations has demanded for the Thai government to send clear signal over situations in Burma in which tens of thousands of monks and civilians joined demonstration against the military junta.
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The Burmese military regime’s unusual restraint in confronting the biggest and most widespread demonstrations against its rule for more than two decades is being attributed to the influence of its chief ally, China.
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Singapore on Monday said it was “concerned” over the protests in Myanmar and hoped the situation would be resolved peacefully.
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Dozens of Myanmar pro-democracy activists protested on Monday against an Indian minister’s visit to Yangon, urging New Delhi not to put energy and economic ties ahead of democracy and human rights.
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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today he hoped the recent wave of peaceful protests in Myanmar will spur dialogue between the Government and all relevant parties on promoting national reconciliation, the restoration of democracy and full respect for human rights in the Asian nation.
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Have you ever caught hold of a tiger’s tail? If not, Burmese generals can report what it’s like-they’ve probably had some experiences to share with you.
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Occasionally a single defining event or image can bring into focus a serious crisis that has simmered beneath the surface of widespread public awareness. The past month’s demonstrations in the Southeast Asian country of Burma, featured in thousands of news articles around the world, place a previously unseen human rights nightmare in plain view of global decision-makers and beg for a firm international response.
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Shivers went down my spine Sunday night when I heard the news that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi met and greeted demonstrating monks in Rangoon at the front gate of her house where she has been under house arrest for most of the last 19 years.  The barricades to the front of her compound were opened for the monks to pass through.
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The Burmese military junta, habituated to years of repressive rule, is today in the eye of a storm. The Sanghas have taken on the Tatmadaw. In a dramatic form of peaceful protest, Buddhist monks with upturned begging bowls have literally flooded the streets of Burma turning them into a crimson sea. The generals in their wildest dreams could not have  imagined that the shock increase in oil prices would let loose a movement so  momentous.
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Burma’s oppressive military junta appears to have a bigger problem on its hands than anyone realized. What started as relatively small-scale, informal protests over gas prices have turned into a large and growing protest by the country’s highly respected Buddhist monks. And now the monks and Burma’s political pro-democracy movement are converging, with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi emerging from house arrest to greet the monks at the gate of her home on Saturday. Reform has proved elusive in the past, but hopefully its time is arriving. The international community needs to show support for the protesters now. (more…)

Burma Campaign UK sources in Rangoon have reported that soldiers have been ordered to shave their heads, in possible preparation for infiltrating peaceful demonstrations. They would start rioting or attacking police, providing the regime with a pretext for a brutal crackdown on protestors.
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“The world has witnessed in recent days the astonishing courage and resilience of the Burmese people.  With the largest demonstrations since 1988, small protests have exploded into a nationwide, non-violent democratic uprising.  Tens of thousands of Burmese from all walks of life, led by throngs of Buddhist monks, have taken to the streets to demand their right to a genuine, free, and fair democracy.
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