Friday, September 28, 2007

Bloggers in Burma keep world informed during military crackdown

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Richard S. Ehrlich, Chronicle Foreign Service

(09-28) 04:00 PDT Bangkok -- Dodging a deadly military crackdown that has killed at least nine protesters, Burmese bloggers are on the front lines, providing news and photos of death and insurrection.

Their Internet blogs, written in Burmese and grammatically flawed English, are posted mostly by residents of Rangoon, the commercial port also known as Yangon, where Buddhist monks, pro-democracy activists and residents have been defying security forces for more than a week.

The bloggers rely on word-of-mouth, cell phones, online chat groups, instant messaging, and firsthand accounts of protesters facing barricaded streets, tear gas and gunfire from Burmese security forces. The best blogs provide photos, video and text updates purportedly by eyewitnesses, which are later confirmed by news organizations or, in some cases, can't be verified.

The nation's military regime has refused to grant visas to foreign correspondents, and has even blocked visa requests for many foreign tourists after the mass uprising worsened this week.

Ko Htike, Burmese blogger has been doing hands on reporting of eye witness accounts concerning confrontations between protesters and riot police. Here is one of his reports from an office worker that was injured by rubber bullets.

Below is an actual of what had happen yesterday on 27/9/07.

I am a Singaporean working in Myanmar for the past 11 years.
I was on my way to office( near Thuwana area) at around 4 to 4.30pm when the riot police block the road near "Super one, ILBC area". I stop my car with my wife and walk out. suddenly riot police and soldiers drove the truck around the corner and start firing shots at the crowd. we quickly ran to the side and squat down near the wall.
The soldiers came down and start to shoot at us. I was shot twice but i did not know what hit me. My both leg were bruised. the soldiers and police kicked us and the rest of the crowds into the drain and shouted that they would kill us if we look at them.

We were forced to stay in the drain for 15 mins and gather by the into a group.
A commander came and gather his troops and drove off to Tamwe direction.
After that ,i looked at my injures and and found injures on my left and right legs.
My wife found the "40mm riot control munnition" empty cartridge that the soldiers shoot at me.

I would like the embassy and media to know the actions of this army.
We are just ordinary citizen going to work and they just shot at us for no reason.
Imagine what they would do to the protesters!

I would like the Singapore government would make a strong stand against this violence crack down on the monks and people.


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