Saturday, September 29, 2007
DEMONSTRATIONS CONTINUE ON SATURDAY, GAMBARI ARRIVES **updated 2x**
here have been reports that the internet may have been working again this morning. Somehow, reports from inside Burma are getting out although Democratic Voice of Burma broadcast has aired no footage from yesterday yet. If you visit the image gallery link, be warned: not for the faint-hearted.
The box at the top of our sidebar is tracking reports sent from inside the country. Note that posting times are one hour ahead of mine, or 1.5 hours later than Rangoon. It may be being posted from Malaysia or Singapore.
Irrawaddy News was down this morning due to overuse of bandwidth. It now re-directs to a new address, but it isn't fully up and running yet (also corrected in our sidebar under Asia Pacific).
More brief reports from inside are posted at Burma-Myanmar Genocide 2007 blog, and there is a companion set of photo galleries here. Again, strong stomach warning on that. Burmese language blog posts are being translated into English here. And once again, image warning.
Mizzima News is still updating today, including this episode from Friday's events.
A letter sent from Rangoon, titled "Killings on September 27," said many protesters were killed on Kyaikkasan Road near State High School No. 3 at about 3 p.m. on Thursday.There has been no shooting so far today, according to an update about an hour ago.
"When the protesters were marching to the North, the army blocked the intersection near Super One Supermarket. When the protesters turned back to the South, then another group of soldiers blocked the road near Tarmway Junction. The troops hit and removed three leading protesters holding flags. Then they opened fire on the protesters from both sides," the letter added.
"So far there is no shooting yet. Soldiers are rounding up the protestors and arresting them whoever they get in that place. The protestors run and again gathered near Theingyi market and again protested there. They are again shouting slogans, and again the soldiers are rounding them up. There are about 1000 protestors but there are many more onlookers around," an eyewitness told Mizzima.So maybe there will be some measure of safety today with the arrival of Ibrahim Gambari. Reports today from a number of different sources confirm that soldiers and police are under a "no shooting" order today. The junta's vigilante USDA group has been rounding up citizens for a pro-junta demonstration to impress him. All households are reportedly required to contribute at least one person for the show. Gambari is reported to be on his way and should arrive shortly.
"Peace and security has been restored," blared the state-run newspapers today, claiming that security forces had acted "with care, using the least possible force." Reports persist, from Burmese sources as well as Western diplomats in Rangoon, of divisions within the military. Some troops have reportedly pledged not to carry out orders to shoot, and conflict between units has also been reported in the past two days.
UPDATE: (7 pm) Confirmed by Reuters that internet access was available for a few hours earlier today before connections failed again. Users were able to access domestic sites and to send emails to the outside, before the shutters closed again.
Reuters also reports that Irrawaddy News was offline due to cyber attack, as junta-loving hackers bombarded it with viruses and shut down the server.
"We are under attack and we are trying to save our archives and data," Irrawaddy spokesman Kyaw Zwa Moe said of the cyber onslaught which began on Thursday.And then they helpfully provide the wrong temporary site address. It's irrawaddymedia.com not .org.
The site, www.irrawaddy.org, received 22 million hits in the two weeks before it was knocked out, he said.
Mr. Gambari is being hustled directly to the secluded and remote new junta capital Nay Pyi Daw, nestled in the central jungle -- a ten hour drive away from Rangoon.
While public display of people's aspirations continued today, with many reports confirming this (and the apparent orders not to shoot them), Western wireservices continue to say the city is quiet with nobody on the streets.
Mizzima reports that junta forces are guarding all monasteries in Mandalay, and have sealed off several of them.
"The forces have cordoned off several monasteries including Ma Soe Yein and Mya Taung with barbed wires so that the monks cannot come out of the monasteries to protest. And fully armed soldiers guard the monasteries. Because of the blockade monks are heard shouting from inside," an eyewitness told Mizzima.And adds more info on fake monks being groomed to sabotage the movement:
Another eyewitness said the Mandalay prisons director with two vehicles from the transport corporation department took several prisoners to a field in the foot of the Mandalay hill and asked a barber to shave off their heads.UPDATE II: (8 pm Bangkok, 1300 GMT) Demonstrators in Rangoon dispersed peacefully around 4 pm local time, about three and a half hours ago. Mr. Gambari arrived in Nay Pyi Daw about two hours ago (7 am Eastern). It's raining in Rangoon, and things are quiet now.
The eyewitness added that the authorities are forcing the prisoners to act as monks to create confusion and misunderstanding among the monks as well as the public so that they lose faith in the Buddhist clergy.