Saturday, October 17, 2009
Remembering Burma's Saffron Revolution
September 17 marks the day when monks rallied on the streets of Yangon two years ago to protest the oppression of t Burma’s junta regime on its own people.
Exiled Burmese monk King Zero, one of the instigators of the 2007 Saffron Revolution, forewarns further democracy rallies in Burma. Unless the ruling military junta apologises for killing and imprisoning monks by October 2, King Zero says monks will launch a boycott and again lead demonstrations against the government.
King Zero says people power is needed again.
Earlier, in August 2007, the Burma government raised the price of gas. So pro-democracy activists began to lead demonstrations which led to the arrest of many.
Some Buddhist monks joined a demonstration in Pakokku north of Yangon on Sept 5, 2007. The peaceful demonstration was broken up violently by police. Three monks were tied to telephone polls and beaten with rifle butts. Ten monks were arrested.
Later that day, monks captured more than 10 high-ranking government and military officials in Pakokku and held them hostage, demanding the release of the arrested monks. The hostages were released unharmed after six hours, but the monks demanded the government to apologize, giving a deadline of September 17. The deadline expired without apology and tens of thousands of monks took to the streets in Yangon.
By late September, the government junta retaliated with police charging the monks with tear gas and clubs. Monasteries were raided. Hundreds of monks arrested and sent to prison camps. Many monks fled across the borders into Thailand or India. To this day, the number of casualties is unknown.
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Monks under the eye of the junta
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