27 September 2007

Nine people killed in Myanmar clashes

Nine people, all of them civilians, were killed today during clashes between the army and anti-military protesters in Yangon. They included eight Burmese protesters and a Japanese video journalist working for AFP. This was the tenth-day of Buddhist-monk-led anti-government protests in Myanmar.

Last night, the army raided several monasteries in Yangon, beat up sleeping monks and arrested hundreds of them. Therefore, there were fewer monks on the streets today than was the case before during the protests, but tens of thousands of people still participated. Clashes between the army and the civilian protesters lasted six hours, having started after some protesters apparently tried to disarm the soldiers.

ASEAN has expressed its "revulsion" at the deaths in Yangon, while the UN is planning to send a special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, to deal with the crisis (BBC).

Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of the Burmese military regime. However, it has shown a lot of resilience in the past, and so the civilians clashing with it are either very brave, or desperate. In either case, this would be a good time for the generals to try to cut a deal and leave power, but, unfortunately, I don't think they'd be interested in that option.

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