Saturday, September 29, 2007

Monasteries isolated and military prowl streets to stop protests

Security forces have isolated at least 5 Buddhist monasteries to prevent protests led by monks against the government.

The military has deployed forces around at least five of the most famous monasteries in Yangon as well as the Shwedagong and Sule pagodas, the starting point and culmination of marches in recent days.

The junta made the decision after impotent threats against monks and civilians who persisted in their protests.

Yesterday, in order to block the assembly of tens of thousands of people, soldiers shot on the crowd killing 9 people, but according to the Australian ambassador the number of dead is far higher.

Among those killed a Japanese photo reporter, shot to death.

The Japanese Government is lodging a formal protest with the Burmese Government and has sent a senior diplomat to the capital to seek clarification of Nagai's death.

According to the junta Nagai was shot by a stray bullet during the chaos of yesterday's rallies.

But a witness quoted by the Kyodo news agency claims that 50-year-old was targeted by a soldier when he was seen carrying a camera.

A photograph taken apparently moments after he was shot shows Nagai lying on the ground with his camera still in hand and a Burmese soldier standing nearby with his weapon drawn.

Yesterday’s violence along with that of recent days has heightened already present tension in the country. The junta continues to threaten “extreme action” if the people and monks do not stop their protests.

But one monk has declared that the monks and people now “are one front” and intend to continue their campaign.

Meantime the international community is becoming increasingly concerned about the developing crises.

Of the many public declarations, the one released by ASEAN, the organisation which groups together 10 south east Asian nations, is of utmost significance.

Asean foreign ministers issued a rare rebuke to Burma on Thursday, demanding the military junta immediately stop using violence against pro-democracy protesters.

Singapore Foreign Minister, acting as spokesman for the group at the end of yesterdays meeting, said “They were appalled to receive reports of automatic weapons being used and demanded that the government immediately desist from the use of violence against demonstrators”.

The ministers "expressed their revulsion to Myanmar's Foreign Minister Nyan Win over reports that the demonstrations in Myanmar are being suppressed by violent force and that there has been a number of fatalities”.

In conclusion, the ministers strongly urged Burma to exercise restraint and seek a political solution and wanted the ruling junta to resume national reconciliation with all parties and work towards a peaceful transition to democracy.


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1 comment:

Free Burma! said...

Free Burma!
International Bloggers' Day for Burma on the 4th of October

International bloggers are preparing an action to support the peaceful revolution in Burma. We want to set a sign for freedom and show our sympathy for these people who are fighting their cruel regime without weapons. These Bloggers are planning to refrain from posting to their blogs on October 4 and just put up one Banner then, underlined with the words „Free Burma!“.