Protests continue as focus shifts to UN envoy in Burma

By staff writers
September 29, 2007

Pro-democracy activists are continuing to protest on the streets of Asia as the United Nations' envoy arrives today in Burma for talks with government leaders - amid continued rumours of divisions among the ruling junta.

The visit to Rangoon and to Burma's new capital, Naypyidaw, by the UN Secretary-General's special rapporteur on Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, is likely to clarify what is really happening in the country's corridors of power.

Several hundred people have gathered in the nation's main city of Rangoon, reports the BBC, despite three days of a government crackdown on demonstrations against the dictatorship.

The numbers of people killed and injured are hard to verify, but are known to considerably exceed official claims. Activists claim that the army has been ordered to rein back on their aggression while the UN's representative is in the country.

The demonstrators have been surrounded by security forces and pro-military vigilante groups, eyewitnesses said. Their are reports of the authorities using snipers more than direct confrontation.

The BBC says protesters are chanting slogans and taunting police, but no shots have so far been fired.

The Democratic Voice of Burma forum seems to have been a principle source of claims about army unrest and the possibility of a coup, but no significant visible divisions have emerged so far. [More on this here: 19.15
A number of monasteries have been raided as the authorities crack down on monks who have played a major role in leading the democracy protests.

Activist and exiles are urging the United Nations to try to take a look at the situation from all sides, but all official channels are controlled by the junta they acknowledge.

Demonstrations in support of the Burmese people are taking place all over the world today.

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