Bicycle Diaries: If you meet the Buddha...

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26.9.07

If you meet the Buddha...

pray for him

Over the past month, thousands of Buddhist monks and civilians have been protesting in cities across Burma. They're demanding an end to injustice. The protests have now grown into the largest public demonstrations since 1988.

Peaceful protesters took to the streets of Burma on 19th August following fuel price increases of up to 500 percent. The dictatorship responded to the first protests with a brutal crackdown on democracy activists. On the eve of a major protest in Rangoon on 22 August, the regime arrested 13 leading democracy activists in midnight raids. Despite intimidation, including brutal attacks on protesters by regime thugs, hundreds of demonstrators have continued to protest.


More than 150 people have been arrested and most remain in detention. The regime has accused peaceful protesters of involvement in terrorism, and is threatening jail terms of up to 20 years. Those arrested face torture, including beatings, electric shocks, burning, and the iron rod where a rod is run up and down on the shins until the skin and flesh are removed and the rod is grinding on bone. High profile members of the 88 Student Generation of democracy activists Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Ko Mya Aye, Ko Yin Htun and Ko Jimmy are among those arrested.

Thousands of monks have joined the protests and are organizing marches in towns and cities across Burma. Monks began their protest after the junta failed to offer an apology for violence used against monks in Pakkoku on 6 September. Monks have marched with their alms bowls turned upside down, a symbol of a boycott of alms from the military regime and its supporters. Thousands of people have come out onto the streets to show their support for the monks.


More here at the BBC's Burmese Service.

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