08/22/2007, 00.00
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13 activists arrested for protesting against hike in petrol costs

The news carried by state media, reveals the junta’s growing concern of public discontent over rising fuel costs. The detainees are part of the “88 Generation Students Group”. Fresh protests planned

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Myanmar’s military junta has arrested 13 democracy activists for having “undermining stability and security of the nation” by participating in protests over the hike in fuel prices.  The news was carried by the state newspaper, which also published the names of the detainees.  According to analysts, by placing the event in the public arena the generals are attempting to discourage further protests, in light of increased tensions.

The arrests, which took place late last night, come two days after an estimated 400 people took to the streets of Yangon against the vertiginous increase in the cost of petrol signed by the government August 15th last.  The unmotivated move immediately led to increases in public transport costs and in general products bringing the population to its knees.

Among those arrested, there are ex political prisoners and figures of note from the “88 Generation Students Group” such as Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Htay Win Aung, Min Zeya, Mya Aye and Kyaw Min Yu. The others include Zeya, Kyaw Kyaw Htwe, Arnt Bwe Kyaw, Panneik Tun, Zaw Zaw Min, Thet Zaw and Nyan Lin Tun. According to the human rights group US Campaign for Burma, a further 5 students and 3 activists were also taken yesterday in separate police raids; news of these arrests where, however, not carried by state media.

Tension is on the rise in the country: the authorities have stepped up security measures around the university and high schools, traditional hotbeds of protest, while the “Committee for Myanmar development” has announced further protests for today in Yangon.

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