Police out in force in attempts to commemorate the Saffron Revolution
Buses of protesters stopped and protesters prevented even from arriving on foot. Some prayer meetings were allowed. One of them was even attended by Aung San Suu Kyi, whom a government official called "wise, cultured, very intelligent and a public personality."
Yangon (AsiaNews) - The Burmese police forces intervened in force and several times, yesterday, to prevent demonstrations on the fourth anniversary of the Saffron Revolution, which began September 24, 2007. The day before, in an interview with Radio Free Asia, a political adviser to the president, Ko Ko Hlaing, had argued that it is difficult for the government release all political prisoners, because among them are people accused of "serious crimes".
Yesterday, three buses carrying 150 people headed to the center of Yangon from the nearby district of Northern Dagon were stopped by police a dozen kilometers from the destination. Passengers tried to walk, but the officers told them that even this was not possible, reminding them that the law prohibits gatherings of more than five people.
Blocked by security forces, the protesters - who wore yellow t-shirts, a symbol of peace and of the revolution (pictured) - stopped to pray for the political prisoners still detained, numbering at least two thousand.
A few dozen people were nonetheless able to gather at the Sule Pagoda - which was a gathering point during the Revolution - around which the police were out in force all day.
There were also moments of prayer for the victims of the Saffron Revolution in some monasteries outside of Yangon.In the Southern Oakkalapa district, more than 60 monks led the meeting, at which also Aung San Suu Kyi took part, the leader of the National League for Democracy.
The Democratic leader also received a sort of recognition by the government. In the interview, Ko Ko Hlaing said he "respected" Aung San Suu Kyi, whom he defined as "wise, cultured, very intelligent and a public person." This latter term is rarely used by government officials in the regards of the Nobel peace prize winner.