Thursday, September 27, 2007
AT LEAST FOUR KILLED IN RANGOON CRACKDOWN
urmese security forces clashed with monks and citizens Wednesday, killing at least four people and wounding hundreds, with hundreds more arrested. One monk and another person were killed by gunfire, while two other monks were beaten to death by the riot police according to AFP.
The violent response to the peaceful marchers today only served to strengthen their determination (Mizzima News is logging events on that page, which is updated throughout the day). Harming a monk, let alone killing one, is an extremely serious matter.
The monks were first hit by soldiers with rifle butts. And when the soldier started getting violent, enraged students, monks and the public set fire to four army vehicles and five two wheelers. In Rangoon only intelligence officials are allowed to ride motorbikes. Later the crowd marched towards the Rangoon city hall.The protesters met soldiers head on. They told the soldiers "shoot us" . Hesitant soldiers fired in the air. All this happened at about 2 p.m.The protesters then headed to Botathaung Township," an eyewitness told Mizzima.Protesters have forced the police to back down, and even retrieved some monks from the police custody.
As the protesting crowd advanced, soldiers and the three army trucks which stopped them on Bogyoke Street had to move back. Slowly the soldiers were forced out of the street until they reached under the Pansodan flyover. Another group of people watching the scene from the flyover threw their shoes and dirt on the soldiers, a practice reserved for those who are despised in the Burmese community.Irrawaddy News also has a constantly updated compilation of reports. Three monks were reportedly shot in Ahlone Township, the witness said they all had died. In the downtown area, two monks and one nun were shot near Sule Pagoda, one of those wounded reportedly died. Many more have been injured by beatings. Latest updated reports from AP, AFP and Reuters.
As Monks from Bakara, Uhyin, Shin Ottama, Zeyawaddy, and Aung Mingalar monasteries began marching, at about 1 p.m (local time) security forces at the corner of Bakara street in Sanchaung township blocked the road and arrested the monks and loaded them on to a vehicle. But the local people in Sanchuang enraged seeing monks being ill-treated retaliated forcing them to back off.
After security forces backed-off, the road was clear and the monks could start marching again.
Citizen journalists within the country are somehow managing to get photos and video out, despite the junta's efforts at shutting down communication channels. Wireservice photos are added to this gallery every few minutes, many provided to the wires by Norway-based broadcaster Democratic Voice of Burma (which is beaming the images and a lot of video back into the country via satellite -- and I've just found the DVB broadcast on my dish), and by the National League for Democracy - Liberated Areas. Here are a few more:
And another citizen's video, taken at Shwedagon's East Gate this afternoon: