03 October 2007

Monks fleeing Yangon

Buddhist monks in their dozens are reportedly trying to escape Yangon as a military crackdown on anti-govenrment protests continues there. The hundreds of monks already arrested will reportedly be sent to prisons in the north of Myanmar. Meanwhile, bus drivers are denying the monks passage out of the city, for fear that the government would stop them from obtaining petrol in retaliation.

According to Burmese government officials, ten people have been killed so far in clashes related to the protests. However, according to pro-democracy activists and foreign diplomats, the true number is several times higher.

Meanwhile, a Burmese army officer has defected to Thailand after his unit was ordered to Yangon to put down the protests. According to the officer,
I knew the plan to beat and shoot the monks and if I stayed on, I would have to follow these orders. Because I'm a Buddhist, I did not want to kill the monks" (BBC).

So it looks as if the pro-democracy movement has been quashed for now, but what the Burmese people have seen over the last few days is not just the power of the army, but also their own power, especially when they gather in their tens of thousands. The day may not be too far away when they start marching in their hundreds of thousands, making it very hard for the army to brutally supress them, as they have been doing so far.

No comments:

Something Even More Magical

In other news...