Radio Free China

Human Rights and Religious Freedom News

Burma Junta Cracks Down On Protests

Posted by radiofreechina on August 23, 2007

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

RANGOON, BURMA (ANS) — Burma’s military regime is preparing to crack down on continuing protests which have resulted from their decision to increase fuel prices by 500 per cent. Almost all the leading democracy activists have been arrested for organizing some of the biggest protests in Burma in a decade.
This has been revealed by the British human rights group, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (www. csw.org.uk). [Image ignored]

Burmese activists shout slogans during a protest in the northern outskirts of the capital Rangoon. A pro-junta mob broke up a rare protest by about 150 pro-democracy activists in Burma’s main city Rangoon on Wednesday amid mounting public anger over a massive fuel price hike. (AFP)

A CSW spokesperson told ANS that on Sunday, August 19, over 400 people took part in a demonstration in Rangoon and protests have continued throughout the week. Pro-junta mobs have been used to attack demonstrators, many of whom have been beaten up and detained.
“According to one report from sources inside Burma, police and pro-regime mobs from the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) attacked protesters in Rangoon at 11am this morning,” said the CSW spokesperson. “About 20 protesters were beaten and dragged into trucks and taken away.
“Reports from Burma indicate the regime is now building up its military presence in Rangoon.” [Image ignored]

Burma’s military regime arrested at least 20 activists, including Min Ko Naing (above) and leaders of a pro-democracy group that staged a rare protest against massive fuel price hikes (Photo: from VOA)

The CSW spokesperson went on to say that on Tuesday, August 21, at least 20 of the most prominent activists were arrested. Among them were leaders of the “88 Generation Students”, who led the pro-democracy movement in 1988 when thousands of peaceful demonstrators were massacred by the regime. They include Min Ko Naing, who was tortured during his 16 years in jail, and Ko Ko Gyi, who was imprisoned for 15 years. It is believed they will be charged with disrupting the stability of the state, a crime which carries a sentence of up to 20 year in prison.
Protests have been taking place at the Burmese Embassy in London and other cities around the world this week. At the demonstration today, Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s (CSW) Advocacy Officer for South Asia, Benedict Rogers, said: “We salute the courage of the people of Burma, who continue to risk arrest, attack and even death to protest against this brutal regime. We stand firmly in solidarity with the Burmese people.” Last night 10 Burmese exiles in London launched an overnight vigil at the Burmese Embassy, and a 24-hour hunger strike.
CSW’s National Director, Stuart Windsor, said: “The arrests, and the reports of troop build-ups, are deeply troubling. We saw in 1988 what the regime is capable of. It is a regime guilty of crimes against humanity. It is a regime that uses rape, torture, child soldiers and forced labour on a widespread and systematic scale. It is a regime that the international community can no longer turn a blind eye to. We urge the United Nations Security Council to hold an emergency discussion on the crisis in Burma as a matter of urgency, and we urge the British Government to do all it possibly can to raise the situation at the Security Council.”
For more information, please contact Penny Hollings, Campaigns and Media Manager at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 20 8329 0045 or by e-mail at: pennyhollings@csw.org.uk or visit http://www.csw.org.uk.
CSW is a human rights organization which specializes in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.
Notes to editors:
1. In 2003, the USDA led an attack on Burma’s democracy leader Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi at Depayin, in which 100 of her supporters were beaten to death and she was almost assassinated.
2. The regime has destroyed over 3,000 villages in eastern Burma since 1996, and forcibly displaced more than a million people.

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