Burmese monks mount nonviolent protests for democracy

By staff writers
September 22, 2007

Buddhist monks are leading nonviolent protests across Burma as opposition to dictatorship and calls for the restoration of democracy increase. They want the Burmese people to pray in their doorways for 15 minutes at 20.00 on Sunday (23 September 2007), Monday and Tuesday.

Burma's opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who has faced harassment and imprisonment, has this weekend greeted the monks who have been demonstrating peacefully against the military junta. Ms Suu Kyi has spent 11 of the last 18 years in detention.

The internationally feted politician wept as she came out of the house she has been detained in since 200. The monks were let through a roadblock. At least 2,000 of them are staging the latest phase of a week-long series of protests through the streets of the main city of Rangoon.

In Mandalay, a monastic centre of Buddhist learning, 10,000 marched peacefully through the Payagyi district. There were also demonstrations on Saturday in the townships of Chauk, Shwebo, Mongwa, Taung Dwin Gyi and Ye Nan Chaung. There were no reports of any violence, says the BBC.

Aung San Suu Kyi's latest period of house arrest began in May 2003.
In 1990 her party won national elections, but these were annulled by the army and she was never allowed to take office.

The area around University Avenue where her house is located has been closed to traffic since the wave of protests began. But in what appears to be an unprecedented move, the guards allowed the monks to walk past the home.

Witnesses told the BBC that Ms Suu Kyi walked out with two other women and cried as she watched the monks and prayed with them but did not speak.

The leaders of the demonstrations have vowed to continue until the collapse of the military government.

Before being allowed to go pass the jailed opposition leader's house in Rangoon, the monks converged on Burma's most revered temple, the Shwedagon Pagoda, watched by plain clothes security officials.

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