05/16/2008, 00.00
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The Burmese junta forces the displaced to return to their destroyed homes

In the municipality of Yangon, the regime orders the clearing of monasteries and schools where the survivors of cyclone Nargis had taken shelter, because on May 24 they must go to the polls to vote on the referendum. But their vote will not change the predetermined result.

Yangon (AsiaNews) - The Burmese junta is not only denying food and water to the survivors of cyclone Nargis, but also a roof above their heads.  All in the name of the constitutional referendum that in the hardest hit areas of the country was postponed until next week.  Meanwhile, the official count of the victims remains at 38,491, while the figures of the Red Cross register 127,990 dead and 2.5 million people in need of aid.

According to the newspaper The Irrawaddy, in the district of South Dagon, Yangon, the authorities have ordered about 2,000 displaced who had taken shelter in monasteries, religious buildings, and schools to return to their own houses.  Or better, to what remains of their houses.  They must clear out by May 20, and those who do not obey will have to provide an explanation to the interior ministry.  In seven of the districts of Yangon, and in 40 of the Irrawaddy delta, the vote on the constitution of the generals will be held on May 24.  The regime, naturally, wants "heavy traffic at the polls" to legitimise what is in fact a manipulated vote.  This is why the people have to return to their homes, even if there is nothing left for them there and even if their decision will have no effect on the results already decided by the junta: the national vote held on May 10 has already given the constitution 92.4 percent of the ballots.

Meanwhile, in Laputta, the city most devastated by the cyclone, the authorities have sealed all points of access by land and water.  Sources of the National League for Democracy (LND), the opposition party, report that anyone who wants to give even a bowl of rice must have the permission of the military.  Those who try to circumvent the controls are arrested and interrogated.  Yesterday in Yangon, Khin Win Kyi, a member of the LND, was arrested solely for having tried to meet with foreign diplomats and UN representatives to tell them about the sufferings of the population and to seek help.

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See also
Archbishop of Yangon: Emergency continues, let in foreign aid
Nargis: more than 100,000 dead, the PIME joins aid efforts
The military "wins" the sham referendum on the constitution
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Alarm of disease and hunger for the survivors of Nargis