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  • » 03/17/2008, 00.00


    Tibet’s revolt making Burmese generals nervous

    In Yangon junta is tightening security around Buddhist religious symbols where anti-regime protests had taken place in September. Soldiers surround the Kaba Aye Monastery. Military government is concerned about some upcoming dates, including Burmese New Year.

    Yangon (AsiaNews) – Protests by Tibetan monks against Chinese oppression are source of deep apprehension among the members of Myanmar’s ruling junta, fearful that it might spark a fresh, new wave of popular demonstrations like the one led by Buddhist monks in September 2007.

    According to Mizzima News, an online news agency, soldiers and anti-riot police surrounded the Kaba Aye Monastery in Yangon, closing the site’s entry gate.

    Sources told AsiaNews that the military government that has run the country formerly known as Burma has tighten security around other religious symbols as well as the heavily-guarded road to the airport.

    The authorities have of course not provided any explanation for the tighter security. But some are speculating that the measures are a prelude to further crackdown on the population and Buddhist monks who might be tempted by anti-Chinese protests in Lhasa.

    The generals might also be a bit touchy because of upcoming events that are important to the military regime, namely Army Day (27 march) and Burmese New Year (17 April).

    The September movement leaders have said for some time that the military government, which has been in power since 1962, “shall not survive this year.”

    There is also the May referendum on the constitution whose success is crucial if the junta wants to gain some international credibility for its “roadmap” towards democracy.

    But in the country the prevailing silence speaks volume as popular dissatisfaction grows by the day. Sources have told AsiaNews that in Yangon and Mandalay people continue to die from hunger; that unemployment is at an historical high; and that the price of gasoline is so high that people are at their wit’s end.

    University bus fare was 900 kyat a month. It then jumped to 9,000 and is now 11,000.

    Students cannot get to class by bus and must take the train, cheaper but also less reliable.

    “Living or dying here in Burma mean the same thing,” said a young man in Mandalay who preferred to remain anonymous. “We live in terror with fear of being spied everywhere. We cannot even talk about politics at home. How long will we have to go on like this?”

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    See also

    17/01/2008 MYANMAR
    After several blasts hit civilians, suspicions fall on Burmese junta
    With yesterday’s, the number of bombings now stands at four in six days. The junta points the finger at Karen rebels but so far no one has claimed responsibility. For Myanmar experts bombings are an old method used by the generals to justify tighter controls and increased repression. Meanwhile unrest in population continues as the UN and EU envoys become the butt of jokes.

    21/03/2008 MYANMAR
    Exiled monks urge new anti-regime protests
    Ahead of the May referendum, the All Burma Monks Association says that abstaining or voting no are not enough to boycott the junta. In an appeal to AsiaNews some Burmese say “We should not fear the truth.”

    19/06/2006 MYANMAR
    Hundreds celebrate Aung San Suu Kyi's birthday despite her house arrest
    Demonstrations take place in Myanmar on pro-democracy leader's birthday despite her ill health and detention. The world and other Noble Peace Prize laureates express solidarity.

    09/11/2005 MYANMAR
    Government moving capital to middle of country
    A new government compound is being built near the town of Pyinmana, 600 km north of Yangon. Reasons for the move are unclear.

    03/10/2007 MYANMAR
    Repression continues, new forms of protests appear in Yangon
    Despite international warnings, troops continue to raid monasteries and private homes at night. Some try fleeing into the jungle. In the capital many residents switch off TV and lights in protest when official evening news bulletin is broadcast carrying the junta’s “truth.” Officer who defected says thousands off dead in the whole country.

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