The Asian Human Rights Commission released a statement today on the escalating protests in Burma:
To the surprise of many, the protests against sharp fuel rises in Burma have continued for a second week, despite constant arrests and harassment of demonstrators and their leaders by plain-clothed police, government officials and gangs of thugs mobilised for the purpose, while soldiers are reported to be watching and waiting in the wings in case events prove uncontrollable.
The protests have now spread to parts of at least six out of the country’s 14 states and divisions, and for the first time members of the Buddhist monastic order have come out in force: over 150 monks and novices marched in the capital of the western Arakan State on 28 August 2007, joined by another 50 to a hundred ordinary citizens. Fittingly, they chose to walk along U Ottama Street, named after a monk from the region who led the struggle against British colonial rule and was imprisoned with hard labour for three years as a consequence.
Meanwhile, another 500 persons marched peacefully across Pegu, north of Rangoon, where further sporadic protests that were held outside of market places in downtown and suburban areas were met with violence and persons were taken away in the by now omnipresent Dyna flat-back trucks that are being used in lieu of vehicles with official markings. Courageous individuals have video taped many of the marches and abductions of participants, and have sent the images abroad for the world to see.
New Mandala has been remiss in not giving these momentous events more attention. We would welcome any further insights from New Mandala readers. (And perhaps the ANU may be willing to host a delegation from the Burmese regime to provide us with an update on the political situation!)