Thousands Join Peaceful Nationwide Monks Protest

Burmese media swarm around protesting monks in Rangoon. (Photo: JPaing / The Irrawaddy)

Burmese media swarm around protesting monks in Rangoon. (Photo: JPaing / The Irrawaddy)

Several thousand Buddhist monks staged a nationwide protest on Wednesday in response to the government’s silence regarding their demands for an apology for the brutal police raid on copper mine protesters in central Burma late last month that injured around 100 monks.

Hundreds of clerics in Burma’s major towns and cities including Rangoon, Mandalay, Pakokku and Monywa took to the streets to complain that none of the five demands they made to the government last Saturday have been met.

The request included an apology from President Thein Sein, the immediate and unconditional release of those detained and an independent probe on the brutal crackdown at the Letpadaung mountain range in Sagaing Division.

In Rangoon, more than 300 monks joined a demonstration organized by “the Buddha Disciples” Buddhist group that is demanding justice for victims of the Nov. 29 raid. The number of protesters swelled to nearly 1,000 when lay people began walking alongside the monks, holding hands to form a human shield around those marching.

“We still haven’t got any reply [from the government],” said Aggha, 27, one of the leading monk of the group. “They have released those detained but only conditionally on bail. We want unconditional releases.”

In contrast to Saturday’s protest, several police trucks full with riot officers were deployed during Wednesday’s demonstration in the former capital. A security official warned marchers that their assembly was illegal, but the monks placated him by insisting that the rally would be peaceful. Apart from this initial warning, protesters did not face any other threats from the authorities.

Witnesses in Burma’s second largest city of Mandalay said that nearly 3,500 protesters, including many monks, staged a rally to show solidarity with other clergymen across the country. In upcountry towns such as Monywa and Pakokku, more than 1,500 demonstrators joined an afternoon gathering to demand the government fulfills the same requests as demanded by their Rangoon comrades.

One Response to Thousands Join Peaceful Nationwide Monks Protest

  1. The generals had done so many crooked things for their own gains in the past. Thein Sein ignores the past and he lets it going on. We cannot blame the monks and the people when they are pointing their fingers at the government. Because the generals are so greedy and self-serving. They have no shame. Dishonest generals and ex-generals are still grabbing power and Thein Sein’s lip-service reform is going nowhere. International communities including US have been successfully cheated by this fake democratic government. The more we the people discover their dishonesty, there are more problems to solve for Thein Sein. Why is he so silent today? Because he has no answer. He might be part of dirty plan in seizing lands everywhere in Burma. I will never want to be around them. Their stolen properties make them smell like rotten fish. The love of money is the root of all evil. These generals are even more evil than the drug lords.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available. Comments with external links in the body text will be deleted by moderators.