Sep 26, 2007

Burma's Barefoot Rebellion


More than 100,000 demonstrators have now taken to the streets in Burma for another day of protests. Approximately 30,000 red-robed monks protected by a human chain of over 70,000 supporters who prayed and chanted as they walked around Rangoon's city hall.

From late last night and throughout today trucks full of soldiers have been arriving in the capitol, sources have said that the hospitals have been put on alert to prepare for casualties as violence broke out today near the city's famed Shwedagon Pagoda, with security forces firing warning shots and tear gas canisters into the crowd of anti-government protestors. About 300 monks and activists have now been arrested across Rangoon, with reports of monks being being with batons and dragged into trucks.

Burma's military junta has banned all public gatherings of more than five people and imposed a nighttime curfew following eight days of anti-government marches led by monks in Rangoon and other areas of the country.

Both Australia and Malaysia have wisely refrained from imposing economic sanctions at this time for the fear that they will not affect the targeted group and will impose additional hardship on the Burmese citizens. The rash decision by the United States and Britain to impose economic sanctions at this juncture is an unwise move that might result in forcing the hand of Burma's military junta. The Burmese have a right to self-determination without undue interference and it is hoped that others will refrain from moves which might potentially have unintended effects.

There are also unconfirmed reports this evening that family members of Burma's head of State Than Shwe and other top members of the military have departed Burma for Thailand. Hopefully more information on this tomorrow.

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