News at Tipitaka Network
Monks face guns, brutal supression in peaceful demonstrations
Compiled by Tipitaka Network, Sunday, September 30, 2007
The brutal use of force on peaceful demonstrators in Myanmar this week had sparked a global outcry led by the United States and ASEAN, of which Myanmar is a member. The United States has imposed new sanctions on the Burmese junta, while ASEAN nations, which include Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, have condemned the military crackdown on protestors. Other countries like France, the United Kingdom, India, China and South Korea have also urged Myanmar to exercise utmost restraint and seek a political solution through national reconciliation. In the meantime, United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari is on his way to meet the junta leadership for talks in the new capital Naypyitaw.
Myanmar is one of Asia's poorest countries with an extreme high level of corruption and human rights abuses. Street protests broke out on August 19 after the military regime hiked fuel prices by as much as 500 percent, it detained dozens of pro-democracy activists and cut off the phone lines. Buddhist monks joined the peaceful protestors nearly a month later after police were reported to be beating up monks in monasteries. On September 21, more than 100,00 people were marching peacefully in Yangon in the largest demonstration in nearly two decades. The monks were seen marching barefooted with sandal-cladded civilians in streets flooded by monsoon rain, and chanting from Buddhist scriptures on teachings of peace and compassion.
Earlier this week, the junta has barred foreigners from entering the country. It has also imposed a night curfew, sealed off major roads and monasteries in Yangon and Mandalay, and cut off the nation's Internet connection. At least nine deaths and dozens wounded have been reported after soldiers and security forces ruthlessly raided Buddhist monasteries on Thursday and arrested monks and novices beating them up and opened fire into crowds of demonstrators in Yangon.
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