Friday, September 28, 2007
FREEDOM MARCHERS COME OUT CAUTIOUSLY, MORE ARE KILLED FRIDAY
aids against Buddhist monasteries continued last night, as troops attacked the Pauk Myaing Monastery in Mandalay around 7:30 pm while the monks were praying, sources close to the monastery told The Irrawaddy. Around 50 monks were kneeling before a Buddha image when they were "beaten with batons and kicked with boots before being taken away by troops. The source said numerous monks were bleeding from the beatings. Most of the monks were arrested, but a few managed to escape."
As fire trucks and military transports took up positions around central Rangoon early this morning, the streets were reported mostly empty. All of the main pagodas and monasteries in the former capital were sealed behind barbed wire barricades. Rangoon sources told the Chiang Mai based Irrawaddy that representatives elected to parliament in the 1990 election planned to lead a march today.
At midday, demonstrators began to gather in front of the Trader Hotel for a march to be led by the elected politicians. The parliamentarians, who have never been allowed to convene by the junta, plan to try to talk to the soldiers and ask them to stop shooting peaceful demonstrators. Burma's main link to the internet has stopped working, and there has been no access since late morning. This will certainly affect the amount of information getting out.
Mizzima reports that township level administrative offices are closed, with some officials reportedly going into hiding. Their sources confirm that all internet lines have been disconnected this morning. Authorities have arrested more monks in Rangoon, including a very senior member of the Sangha.
The India-based news service also has some intriguing military news today. Sources have told Mizzima that troops from central Burma, belonging to Central Command and South East Command, are presently moving toward Rangoon. It is not known whether these are reinforcements, or whether it may indicate a split in the military. A further report states that military aircraft from Matehtilar base have been scrambled and are now airborne. A "commotion" is reported in Light Infantry Divisions 33 and 99 of the Burma Army, with no further details.
Video has just this moment aired over the AP satellite newsfeed. Recorded from a pedestrian bridge, it looks very much like the location around Trader Hotel. People are running as soldiers shoot them. I clearly see a person shot point blank and go down. The clip is repeated many times. At first I thought it was Kenji Nagai's murder, but on repeated viewings I don't think so. It must have taken place today, probably within the last hour or two.
"A lot of people are saying that we must fight against the junta because we will not get the same opportunity later. We must end this show now. They were talking among themselves. And they were unhappy. A lot of people in the locality also talked the same way. They said even today they will continue," a source in Rangoon told Mizzima.
President Bush, in announcing the American sanctions targeting junta members, their families and backers, said:
"The world is watching the people of Burma take to the streets to demand their freedom, and the American people stand in solidarity with these brave individuals.Here is some good background on who these secretive generals are.
"We feel admiration and compassion for the monks and peaceful protesters calling for democracy. Every civilized nation has a responsibility to stand up for people suffering under a brutal military regime like the one that has ruled Burma for too long."