Thursday, September 27, 2007
MORE FREEDOM LOVERS KILLED IN BURMA TODAY **update**
roops fired directly into crowds this afternoon, as protesters defied the junta's ultimatum to disperse or face "extreme action." Those killed included a Japanese national, according to the Associated Press. An earlier report that the streets had quickly cleared after the delivery of the ultimatum, seems to have been incorrect. These actions are occurring in many parts of the city.
Witnesses told the AP that five men were arrested and severely beaten Thursday after soldiers fired into a crowd near a bridge across the Pazundaung River on the east side of downtown Yangon.The photo above is certainly reminiscent of the person in Tienanmen Square, standing off the tanks of the tyrants.
Shots were fired after several thousand protesters on the west side of the river ignored orders to disband.
In other parts of the city, some protesters shouted "Give us freedom, give us freedom!" at soldiers. Thousands ran through the streets after warning shots were fired into crowds that had swollen to 70,000. Bloody sandals were left lying in the road.
Witnesses told Irrawaddy that soldiers have swept through at least one tourist hotel in the city centre, Traders Hotel, searching for foreign journalists suspected of reporting on the crisis. Troops fired their weapons into tens of thousands of people gathered near Sule Pagoda at midday, causing many serious injuries. Determined to continue their protest, the crowd moved toward Tamwe Township in eastern Rangoon. Two separate groups of soldiers hemmed them in and opened fire. There is no word on casualties. At least one monk was killed in the overnight attacks against monasteries, witnesses said.
Rangoon residents told Mizzima that insecticide spraying trucks are being prepared in downtown Rangoon. About 400 citizens have rallied near the notorious Insein Prison, where Aung San Suu Kyi was taken on Sunday. An international aid agency worker told Mizzima that the army only gave a two minute warning before opening fire on the crowd at Sule Pagoda. Three troop trucks appeared as the monks and citizens were praying, firing first into the air and then into the people. At least one person was killed there. Two other army vehicles opened fire into onlookers near the National Library.
Mizzima reports one of those injured at Sule is a 30 year old foreigner. An American flag badge was found in his bag and his video camera seized . Late afternoon, more people gathered at Sule.
"Now there are about 30,000 to 40,000 have gathered in Sule. We don't know what will happen. At the moment, soldiers are shooting from above. The people are unhappy and are now gathering on the road. There are a lot of shootings, but we don't know how many died. Members of NLD arrested across the country. It is really bad. And more people are joining the protest," an eyewitness told Mizzima.Back at Ngwe Kyar Yan monastery, site of one of the attacks by soldiers overnight, thousands of citizens angry over the death of monk U Sandima surrounded the site, throwing rocks at security forces. Unconfirmed reports said the crowd had locked junta officials inside. Around 6 pm soldiers fired into this crowd, killing two.
About a half hour ago, Irrawaddy reported that crowds are defying the 6 pm curfew, and are still roaming the streets at 7 pm. AFP has just reported that the slain Japanese man was Kenji Nagai, 52 years of age. He was a video journalist working for the Tokyo based agency APF News, a company spokesman said.
The UN Secretary General's envoy is being permitted to enter the country, after a lot of pressure from almost everywhere. ASEAN countries' ministers met to deal with the issue, and they had some strong language for the Burmese official. The foreign minister didn't come to the meeting, he sent a lower level official to take his lumps. One of the other delegations reportedly said the official uttered an apology to the ASEAN group.
The monks have been waiting for an apology from his masters for almost two weeks. The junta itself admitted nine deaths on Thursday via state television.
A western diplomat told the Chiang Mai based Irrawaddy that Maung Aye is calling the shots now, and he speculated that this General may meet with Aung San Suu Kyi soon. Has Than Shwe been sidelined?