Monks on the march again for democracy in Burma

By staff writers
October 31, 2007

Several weeks after a brutal crackdown on thousands of democracy protesters across Burma, over a hundred Buddhist monks have taken part in the first public demonstration in northern Burma since the government's wave of repression.

In Pakokku the monks marched silently, in a way described by observers as "highly dignified", and issued no slogans.

One protester told the Democratic Voice of Burma, a Norway-based short-wave radio station and website run by dissident journalists, that the walk was intended as a continuation of the protests last month.

Analysts say that the march is a sign that the depths of popular dissent and unrest are still present in the country, in spite of the military crackdown.

The monk told the radio station: "We walked around the town and chanted ... we are continuing our protest from last month as we have not yet achieved any of the demands we asked for."

He continued: "Our demands are for lower commodity prices, national reconciliation and immediate release of (opposition leader) Aung San Suu Kyi and all the political prisoners."

Democracy protesters and monks are saying that there will be more demonstrations soon, with the emphasis on quiet, sparodic, nonviolent manifestations. The internet and radio are being used to inform the media about what is going on.

The Burmese government has made a concerted attempt to clamp down on the flow of information via the web and other means, but there are still gaps and opportunities, dissidents say.

Around 200,000 people took part in demonstrations in Rangoon several weeks ago. Thousands were arrested and beaten, and some 200 killed, say activists, though the official figures record just ten deaths.

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