10/10/2007, 00.00
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Burmese students protest by praying in the classroom

In Yangon and Mandalay high schools students are challenging teachers’ ban and reciting the prayer monks chanted during their protest marches, calling for “peace and justice” for all. Arrests continue, whilst opposition leader Win Shwe dies under interrogation. He had been arrested in late September.

Yangon (AsiaNews) – Cellular phones, telephone lines and the internet are still under military control as soldiers still patrol the streets and monasteries. The repression of the peaceful movement demanding an end to Myanmar’s dictatorship continues but the population is not giving up. Instead it is coming up with smaller ways of showing its defiance.

Sources from Yangon to Mandalay are telling AsiaNews that after universities were shut down two weeks ago, high schools have become centres of resistance to the military regime. Despite teachers’ ban students recite the prayer Buddhist monks chanted during the marches the military crushed in blood, a prayer which calls “for peace in the country, justice and freedom from torture and violence.”

The government’s anti-monk defamation campaign continues. Official newspapers and TV are saying that soldiers found pornographic material and condoms during their night time raids in the monasteries. “But nobody believes state media anymore,” said some Mandalay residents.

According to the Democratic Voice of Burma, the authorities have categorised detainees into four groups based on their level of involvement in the recent demonstrations.

The categories range from A (which includes protest leaders or organisers and politicians), B (those who held flags or marched in the first row of protestors t), to D (people who were bystanders at the protests or clapped their hands in support). Those in category A and B will remain in detention, while category D prisoners will be released. There is no further information on those in category C or what will happen to them.

Five generals are among the prisoners as well as more than 400 soldiers who refused to fire on the monks as ordered by junta leader General Than Shwe, the Jakarta Post reports.

Eyewitnesses said that prisoners are living in terrible conditions—about 100 according to official estimates; more than 6,000 according to human rights organisations.

Just a few hours ago the death of Win Shwe, 42, was announced. He was a member of the National League for Democracy, the main opposition party led by Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an organisation of former Burmese political prisoners, said that he died under interrogation by men of the junta. He and five other party members were arrested on September 26.

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See also
Ex PM Khin Nyunt sentenced to a 44 years suspended prison term
Rajpaska and Buddhist leaders criticised for welcoming Burmese dictator Than Shwe
Underground campaign against junta’s new constitution
Junta shuts down monasteries in Mandalay
Myanmar junta resists, Gambari’s mission on brink of failure


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