Friday, September 28, 2007
Mass killing of Buddhist Monks in Yangon
Myanmar: Monks besieged; Internet cut
The military leadership appeared, at least temporarily, to repress the democracy movement that has shaken the country.
Last update: September 28, 2007 – 9:13 PM
Myanmar: Monks besieged; Internet cut
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YANGON, MYANMAR - Soldiers and police took control of the streets Friday, firing warning shots and tear gas to scatter the few pro-democracy protesters who ventured out as Myanmar's military junta sealed off Buddhist monasteries and cut public Internet access.
On the third day of a government crackdown, the streets were empty of the mass gatherings that had peacefully challenged the regime daily for nearly two weeks.
"Bloodbath again! Bloodbath again!" a Yangon resident yelled while watching soldiers break up one march.
Thousands of monks had provided the backbone of the protests, but they were besieged in their monasteries, penned in by locked gates and barbed wire surrounding the compounds in the two biggest cities, Yangon and Mandalay. Troops stood guard outside and blocked nearby roads to keep the monks isolated.
Many Yangon residents feared that the crackdown had fatally weakened a movement that began nearly six weeks ago as small protests over fuel price hikes and grew into demonstrations by tens of thousands demanding an end to 45 years of military rule.
The corralling of the monks was a serious blow. They carry high moral authority in the predominantly Buddhist nation of 54 million people, and the protests had mushroomed when the clergymen joined in.
"The monks are the ones who give us courage. I don't think that we have any more hope to win," said a young woman who had taken part in a huge demonstration Thursday that was broken up when troops shot some of the protesters. She said she had not seen her boyfriend and feared he was arrested.
Burma: From comment on Ko Htike's Blog
28 September 2007 19:17
"We just got phone call with our sister living in Yangon about a few hours ago.
We saw on BBC world, saying that 200 monks were arrested. The true picture is far worse!!!!!!!!!
For one instance, the monastery at an obscure neighborhood of Yangon, called Ngwe Kyar Yan (on Wei-za-yan-tar Road, Yangon) had been raided early this morning.
A troop of lone-tein (riot police comprised of paid thugs) protected by the military trucks, raided the monastery with 200 studying monks. They systematically ordered all the monks to line up and banged and crushed each one's head against the brick wall of the monastery. One by one, the peaceful, non resisting monks, fell to the ground, screaming in pain. Then, they tore off the red robes and threw them all in the military trucks (like rice bags) and took the bodies away.
The head monk of the monastery, was tied up in the middle of the monastery, tortured , bludgeoned, and later died the same day, today. Tens of thousands of people gathered outside the monastery, warded off by troops with bayoneted rifles, unable to help their helpless monks being slaughtered inside the monastery. Their every try to forge ahead was met with the bayonets.
When all is done, only 10 out of 200 remained alive, hiding in the monastery. Blood stained everywhere on the walls and floors of the monastery.
Please tell your audience of the full extent of the fate of the monks please please !!!!!!!!!!!!
'Arrested' is not enough expression. They have been bludgeoned to death !!!!!!"
Last Updated: Friday, 28 September 2007, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
Accounts from inside Burma
FRIDAY, 28 SEPTEMBER
I am in regular contact with my family and friends in Burma. There is a humanitarian crisis happening there at the moment. Because of the demonstrations, the street vendors and stalls selling vegetables and cooked food are no longer to be found on the streets of Rangoon. People are scared to go out to buy food. Most don't have proper cooking facilities and rely of cheap food sold on the streets. The mains water is foul and undrinkable and everyone relies on five gallon purified water bottles. They are not being delivered at the moment. The curfew is hurting the Muslim population quite badly. During Ramadan, the myriad street restaurants are thronged in the evening and early in the morning when large extended families would be eating together. Now they have to cope in their in home with whatever facilities are available. The increased fuel costs have almost doubled the cost of all essentials. John, UK
Police are everywhere in Yangon (Rangoon). They are arresting demonstrators on the streets, searching houses and arresting innocent people. They don't want the UN envoy to see the truth of the demonstrations in Burma. The foreign media is not getting the number of deaths right, I am sure that there are many more killed than the BBC is reporting. Shan, Rangoon
People seem to be determined to continue, despite the bullets, beatings and killings. I hear right now that shooting is still going on near our office. What we need from the international community is not just discussion on sanction or verbal pressure. Defenceless citizens are risking their lives simply to make their voice heard to live in a country free of oppression and extreme poverty, which they have been enduring for the past 19 years. Now is the time for the international community to take action. Anonymous international resident, Rangoon
A group of more than 50 soldiers and riot police just passed in front of our office. They are planning something but I do not know what. About 14:00 I saw a group of protesters - about 30 people - being arrested and prepared to be taken somewhere else by soldiers with green scarfs. They were also forced to squat with their hands behind their heads like prisoners. Teargas was used but I heard no gun shots. One of my colleague just told me that there is a large group of protesters in another part of town. He said that they were swearing at the riot police. The internet is down since last night. People are saying that the government did this to prevent Burmese people sending information to foreign media about what's going on in the country. Only a handful of people, including me, have access to the internet as embassies and big companies have their own satelite links for the internet. Myat, Rangoon
Now all the internet connections and phone lines are cut. The government worries that we will send evidence of their terrible acts to the outside world. Our people are sad and angry with this government. We are all suffering from their terrible rule. But we don't have the capacity to do anything against them. If we do something, we will be killed and our families will suffer. We don't have any choice, because we are born in Myanmar (Burma). We know it will be over one day. We only wish this day will come soon. B L, Rangoon
Because of the security situation, oficially now non-essential staff are no longer required to come to the office. I will be leaving the office at 11:00 and I'll be staying at home until things get better. The UN special envoy Gambari will leave New York for for Yangon (Rangoon) tomorrow to negotiate with the government. I hope they can work things out though there's a slim chance they will. Anonymous Rangoon resident
THURSDAY, 27 SEPTEMBER
It is 14:30 now and the riot police and army are trying to disperse the crowds on the street. At about 12:30 the whole street was filled with demonstrators. Then the soldiers started to shoot and use tear gas and then they charged with batons and took away some of the protesters. I heard that one person was killed. The crowds were yelling at the soldiers "your task is not to kill us citizens". At about 14:00 about the soldiers advanced towards the road in front of our office shouting through a loudspeaker at the crowds to disperse. The demonstrators went away, probably to another part of the town. There were only about 12 monks leading them. Similar things are happening in other parts of the town where there are protests. There are soldiers in almost all strategic parts of the town trying to disperse the crowd. There is a little restraint still as they give warnings before doing anything and the people have some time to disperse. I hope that things will get better without more bloodshed. Anonymous Rangoon resident
They're beating the crowd in front of Traders Hotel. Around 2,000 were taking part in a peaceful demonstration. There were also monks and people sat down to pay respect. They started the beating as the people sat down to bow. Tear gas were used again. Someone saw 20 trucks full of soldiers heading towards downtown. The junta has begun a full scale war against innocent civilians. Sai, Rangoon
There are many deaths on the streets of Rangoon. There were many deaths by gun-shots but the military is taking away the bodies so that they can hide their inhumane violence on civilians. Now even spectators on the streets, who are not involved in the protests are being shot at. Wai, Rangoon
I live near the Ngwe Kyar Yan monastery in south Okkalapa. They came to the monastery last night. Only 20 monks escaped out of 200. One monk from this monastery passed away at the demonstration yesterday. The soldiers came at the middle of the night and beat up the monks. The head monk and the other 19 escaped. They beat the monks and loaded them onto a truck like animals. We could hear gunshots, screams and shouting. Soldiers shouted that they are not just going to shoot in the air, but also on people. Anonymous eyewitness, Rangoon
From the BBC Burmese Service: (At a monastery at midnight) The soldiers ran up to the first floor of the monastery and grabbed the head monk by the neck and dragged him downstairs. They beat up the other monks with batons and sticks. They kicked the sleeping novices to wake them up and ask them if any monks are hiding. The novices are shaking with fear. It is as if they are raiding a rebel camp. Anonymous eyewitness, Rangoon