09/21/2007, 00.00
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Fourth day of protests, monks call for UN intervention

Monks gather this morning in Yangon to protest against junta. A thousand monks met yesterday at the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, joined by hundreds of students.

Yangon (AsiaNews) – Today was the fourth day of protests by Buddhist monks against Myanmar’s ruling military junta and its unpopular polices in the former Myanmese capital. About 200 of them marched to Mei Lamu Pagoda on the outskirts of Yangon today under driving rain. After chanting sermons and praying for 15 minutes, the monks dispersed, witnesses said.

Yesterday nearly a thousand monks marched to Yangon's famous Shwedagon Pagoda, the country’s most venerated temple. Some 200 students joined them to provide a human cover to protect them (see photo).

Monks at the head of the procession carried religious flags and banners calling for a United Nations intervention. In his briefing to the Security Council, UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari reported about the ongoing crisis in the former Burma.

In their traditional orange outfit the monks marched by some Western embassies, some carrying their traditional alms bowl turned upside down in a sign of protest against the military.

Refusing to accept alms from the military and their families is a symbolically-charged act of protest in Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist country. It is almost a form of excommunication.

Once against the army could do nothing but look on. It could not intervene as it did in mid-August when street protests that erupted after a sudden huge increase in fuel prices.

Since then many cars and buses have stopped forcing hundreds of workers to walk.

Only plain-clothed policemen followed the demonstrators.

Protest marches by monks are becoming a daily event across the country. They are a sign of the extent of popular anger at the military regime that has been in power in the Asian country for the past 45.

Elsewhere demonstrators marched also in Pakoku and Monywa.

The alliance of all Buddhist monks of Burma that has called for an alms boycott wants the release of political prisoners, including Nobel Prize laureate Nobel Aung Saan Suu Kyi, as well as an apology from the military for the violence it used against demonstrators.

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See also
ASEAN says no to Gambari to please Myanmar
For China things in Myanmar are getting “better” but monks continue to report cases of torture
Aung San Suu Kyi meets junta official
Junta “eliminating” soldiers who fired on monks
Gambari’s optimism clashing with junta’s rigidity


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