On This Day

The Day the Myanmar Army Crushed a Monk-Led Revolution

By Wei Yan Aung 26 September 2019

YANGON—Twelve years ago today, Myanmar’s military regime launched a violent crackdown on Buddhist monks staging a protest against military rule at the eastern gate of Shwedagon Pagoda. Authorities also raided monasteries.

Around noon on the eighth day of a protest led by Buddhist monks in Yangon, Myanmar’s former capital, police and soldiers used smoke bombs and batons to disperse the protesting monks at the gate of Shwedagon Pagoda.

That night at midnight, soldiers and police raided monasteries in Yangon. Over 200 soldiers, police and vigilantes broke into Ngwe Kyar Yan Monastery and kicked and beat many monks and laypeople. Over 150 monks were detained. The next morning, the floors of the monastery were found covered in blood and the walls of the monastery were riddled with bullets.

The government said 10 civilians were killed during the crackdown, but many believe that the number of casualties was much higher.

In the days that followed, over 50 monasteries in Yangon and elsewhere in the country were raided and nearly 600 monks were detained, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a non-governmental organization founded by former political prisoners from Myanmar.

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