03/21/2008, 00.00
MYANMAR
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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.”

Yangon (AsiaNews) – A group of Burmese monks living abroad is urging the population inside and outside Myanmar to join in new wave of peaceful demonstrations against the military regime. For members of the All Burma Monks Association (ABMA), the group that in September led protests the junta crushed in a bloody crackdown, it will not be enough to abstain or vote no in the referendum the generals have scheduled for this May. Instead people have to go back into the streets to show the Burmese people’s opposition to the policies of the military government.

Mizzima News online reported today that in a press release the ABMA urged all pro-democracy activists, monks, ordinary people and students around the world as well as inside Burma to demonstrate on 26 April and with courage boycott the regime and all its plans.

The May referendum is designed to approve the new constitution drafted by the military without the participation of opposition forces.

Today AsiaNews received an appeal from anonymous Burmese to reject silence, but instead have the “strength to tell and face the truth.”

In the message, sent via e-mail, they describe a situation inside their country that is going from bad to worse. They urge their compatriots to raise their voice against injustice.

“Since January army privates cannot even be reached by their families because of preparations for Army Day on 27 March. Barracks are shut tight to prevent information from getting out. Ethnic Karens, many of whom are Christians, are still being exterminated. Similarly, work-related deaths on construction sites continue as the regime builds new cities, bridges and roads. For how long are we going to be afraid to speak up?”

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