10/26/2006, 00.00
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Religious communities asked to pray for democracy in Myanmar

A group of Burmese former political prisoners call for a week of prayers in temples, mosques and churches to encourage  "a peaceful resolution of the country's political crisis" and the release of political prisoners.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The ' 88 Generation Students' group is planning to bring to a close  its petition campaign to free political prisoners with a multi-denominational prayer week in favour of a "peaceful solution" to the country's crisis. The group is made up of former prisoners from the 1988 student movement that suffered repression at the hands of the authorities.

The petition calling for the release of political prisoners was signed by 535,580 people and presented on Tuesday to the United Nations.

Petition organisers said they were satisfied with the courageous support they received. They also said that the military junta did not do much to disrupt their campaign.

The signature drive began on October 2 a few days after the group's five leaders—Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Htay Kywe, Min Zeya and Pyone Cho—were arrested between September 30 and October 2 after the United States threatened to push for a resolution in the UN Security Council condemning Myanmar's human rights violations.

To mark the end of the petition campaign, organisers plan to hold candlelight vigils in places of worship from October 29 until November 4 for "a peaceful resolution of the country's political crisis and for political prisoners and for victims of the recent floods".

"Our campaign is to show our loving kindness [for our country], not confrontation" with the authorities, Kyaw Min Yu, one of the organizers, told the press.

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