Suu Kyi appearance at protest march
The biggest protests in years against Burma's military government have been given extra momentum by the appearance of the detained opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
The Nobel Prize winner -- who hasn't been seen in public since 2003 -- greeted a crowd of Buddhist monks outside the house where she's under arrest.
The monks were allowed through a police roadblock and were able to pray with her for several minutes.
More than ten-thousand monks demonstrated against the authorities in at least seven Burmese cities, often cheered on by civilians.
In Mandalay a long chain of civilians linked hands to protect the monks from the security forces.Source: www.bbc.co.uk/burmese
Sep 19, 2007 (DVB)—Thousands of people took to the streets in Rangoon today to support monks protesting against the Burmese government. More than 1000 monks braved rain in the former capital today to stage another protest against government harassment around the famous Sule Pagoda, where several monks gave political speeches, slamming the military's use of violence against peaceful protests. Huge crowds of civilians gathered in the streets to watch the monks protest. Some reports from Rangoon claimed that almost 10,000 people had turned out to watch the demonstrations. Today’s protest was started by about 500 monks who marched past Shwedagon pagoda before being joined by hundreds more monks at Tamwe roundabout. They then marched down Bogyoke road to Sule junction while chanting metta, eyewitnesses said. “The authorities shut down the gates to Sule Pagoda and initially refused to let the monks in. But after the monks demanded access, the officials finally gave in,” one eyewitness told DVB. “They closed the gates after the monks came in and they argued again and the monks had the gates reopened. Then the bystanders came into the pagoda,” the eyewitness said. The monks reportedly stayed at the pagoda for about 30 minutes before returning to their monasteries. During their march through town the monks were followed by more than 20 police vehicles and large groups of officials. There were no reports of government interference in the demonstration. Groups of monks also protested in a number of other cities around Burma today with more than 1000 marching in Mandalay, 500 in Prome and 150 in Kalay township, Sagaing division. Reporting by Aye Naing(www.dvb.no)
Sep 18, 2007 (DVB)—About 1000 monks are staging a protest march against government harassment in Rangoon, according to eyewitnesses in the former capital. Bystanders have told DVB that the monks tried to march on the famous Shwedagon pagoda at about midday today before being stopped by pagoda officials and government workers. The monks then changed direction and headed for Sule Pagoda down town. “The monks are currently at the junction between Anawratha and Sule Pagoda road. There are about 20,000 people standing around watching them,” one eyewitness told DVB on condition of anonymity. “The Swan Arr Shin and government officials are there too. But they are not taking any action against the monks because they are outnumbered by the bystanders,” the eyewitness said. The monks are reportedly chanting metta as they walk to the delight of the bystanders who are cheering them on. Several groups of Burmese monks have released statements in the past week demanding an apology from the government over the brutal crackdown on a peaceful protest staged by monks in Pakokku on September 5. The monks said that if the government refused to appologise, they would stage nationwide protests starting this week. So far there is no indication that the government plans to back down over the incident.
U.S. decries Myanmar dissidents' arrests
The United States Wednesday condemned the arrest of activists, including a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, in Myanmar for protesting last week's fuel price hikes.
The Myanmar government arrested at least 13 prominent activists -- Min Ko Naing, a prominent dissident leader, and Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Prize winner -- whom the government alleged were using the price increase to cause unrest, the Times of London reported.
The United States calls for the immediate release of these activists and for an end to the regime's blatant attempt to intimidate and silence those who are engaged in peaceful promotion of democracy and human rights in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, Gonzalo Gallegos, U.S. State Department spokesman, read from a statement Wednesday.
Demonstrators marched Wednesday in the northern outskirts of Yangon, despite the arrest of the 13 dissidents.
The United States called on government officials in Yangon to
engage in meaningful dialog with leaders of the country's democratic movement and other groups
to make tangible steps toward a transition to civilian democratic rule.
Spontaneous demonstration in Rangoon, biggest in decade in Burma
Mizzima News (www.mizzima.com)
August 22, 2007 - Indian Time - 12:47 p.m - Su Su Nway – "Special Branch Police have arrived at our location and I may not be able to give anymore information if I am arrested". Su Su Nway has not been participating in the protest this morning. She said she was unable to go out as the Special Branch has been waiting for her to leave her residence.
12:40 p.m - About 300 protestors marching through the Oat Kyin traffic point were confronted by over 400 Swan Arrshin and USDA members and subsequently attacked and forced onto lorry trucks. During the attack at least seven protestors, including two monks, were severely injured. And several protestors, including Naw Ohn Hla, Ma Yin Yin Mya, Ma Cho Lwin, Ma San San Myint, Than Zaw Myint and Ma Htet Htet Oo, were arrested, a protestor told Mizzima.
"They told us to disperse and tried to load us onto buses. They threatened us, saying that if we don't disperse, they will use more violence," said a student protestor.
Protestors said junta-backed thugs turned violent and began severely beating the protestors.
"I had to flee for my live," a protestor who fled the brutal attack told Mizzima.
12:15 p.m - A Rangoon protestor has sent an email message to Mizzima, saying: "This is the Hledan to Insein group. A mass of more than 500 have reached Hlaing Yadana market. A lady leader who wore a 'Pinni' spoke to the audience. Most of the people encouraged her. But on the other side there were soldiers with two lorry trucks and civilian thugs, who get about 3000 kyat per day as members of groups such as Kyant Phut (USDA) & Swan Arrshin (peoples' militia). They commanded the people to go back home. My informer says she has seen a lot of people and thugs, hired with money, on the Yangon-Insein Road."
12:05 p.m - U Win Naing and his group reached downtown Rangoon near Sule Pagoda, while the rest are still marching toward downtown. "Our group has reached near Sule, everything is fine so far but we are not able to start anything much in downtown yet," U Win Naing told Mizzima.
11:9 a.m - National League for Democracy, Burma's main opposition party, NLD leaders joining in the demonstration at Hledan.
11:00 a.m - Veteran Burmese politician U Win Naing led over 300 protestors in a march from eight-mile junction to Heldan traffic point, where they joined other protesters.
10:50 a.m - "This morning, when I went out to eat some breakfast, I saw a group of people demonstrating and when I discovered their demands I realized that it was what we the people of Burma need, so I joined them. I am from Hlaing Township." – Ko Sithu, a bystander and university student with an economics major who joined the demonstration, in a telephone interview with Mizzima.
New Delhi: In what is turning out to be the biggest public demonstration in Burma in a decade, over 500 people in Rangoon on Wednesday began a protest march venting the people's grievance against the government's massive fuel price increase.
Though authorities last night arrested 13 key student leaders, the demonstrations were organised at various locations in Rangoon – Insein, Myay Ni Gone, and Hledan - at about 10 a.m. (local time). The agitators have joined hands to form a larger group in Hledan and marched along the streets towards Thamine traffic point.
"We are now moving back to Hledan and we will head downtown, where we expect to join forces with other demonstrators," a protester told Mizzima over telephone.
A number of other demonstrations were staged in other parts of Rangoon including South Dagon and San Pya bazaar, he added.
Mizzima was able to procure a live recording of one protester who spoke to the people at the demonstration saying, "The government has raised fuel prices without giving any prior notice, and due to this hike, all the people are suffering. Therefore, we, the 88 generation students, NLD members, University students, high school students and civilians are protesting and demanding an immediate roll back in the prices of fuel."
While no particular individuals are spearheading the protest, the demonstration has been joined by prominent activists including Naw Ohn Hla, 88 generation student leader Ko Jimmy's wife Nilar Thein, and veteran politician Amyotharyee U Win Naing.
Nearly half of the demonstrators are women wearing the traditional Burmese Pinni -- white shirt and plain clothes.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (October 2nd 1995/ Rangoon, Burma)
Always when you think you cannot make it anymore from out of nowhere comes a little light. This little light will renew your strength and give you the energy to go one more step. (Elizabeth Kubler Ross)