Monday, October 01, 2007
AN ANXIOUS NATION WAITS **updated**
fter meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi for 90 minutes on Sunday, UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari returned to the regime's secluded, half-built capital at Nay Pyi Daw where he continues to wait for an audience with the junta leadership.
UPDATE: (6 pm Bangkok) Mr. Gambari has gone to Muse, in Shan State, Mizzima News reports.
UN special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, who is in Burma for the third day, is reported to have left for Shan State in eastern Burma to survey developments in the border area and also witness the junta organized National Convention supported gatherings.Lovely. He gets dinner and a show. Read on below. Maybe it was a condition for getting his audience with the chief butcher?
"We heard that Gambari is currently at the 105th mile border trade zone watching trade transactions. He will arrive in Muse soon. He has came to Lashio in a special flight and from there he came in a helicopter to 105th mile trade zone. He will go back to Lashio in northern Shan state and witness the junta-organized gathering of people in support of the National Convention," local residents said,
The 105th mile trade zone is located about seven miles west of the town on the Mandalay-Muse Highway.
Mizzima News reported Monday on how the pro-SPADCO gatherings, seen on State Television broadcasts, are being organised:
"What happened was that members of the USDA [one of the junta's vigilante organisations - ed.] were called for a meeting at the Ward Peace and Development Council office. And the members of USDA and WPDC went from door to door to calling on people to attend a gathering in support of the government's roadmap and National Convention. And those attending will be given 3000 Kyat but those not attending will be fined 10,000 kyat," a local resident of Taung Dwingyi told Mizzima.In Mandalay, which saw continued protests yesterday, witnesses said that groups of people are preparing more peaceful demonstrations for this afternoon. Members of the USDA and Swan Arrshin vigilante groups are being beefed up, with hired help:
"They called people from the slums of Chan Aye Thar Zan Township last night. They were told to they will get a daily wage of 3000 kyat and would work for security. We believe the authorities will first deploy these people to crackdown on any protest," a local resident told Mizzima.In Rangoon today, security forces are still searching everyone for cameras and cell phones.
Monasteries continue to be guarded and in some monasteries several dozen armed soldiers are have been sent as reinforcements.
Security forces in Rangoon continue to conduct rampant searches on passers by particularly in downtown areas. Eyewitnesses said soldiers and riot police are targeting people with cameras and mobile phone to curb the flow of information.Take a look at editorial cartoonist John Sherffius' (Boulder Colorado Daily Camera) view of events. Wai to MoeMaKa Media. Strong content warning (MoeMaKa Media, not the cartoon): graphic documentation of what I quoted yesterday from AP:
"The current situation is that it is extremely difficult and dangerous to get anything out. Riot police are charging anyone who brings out a camera or a cell phone. There are also random searches of bags," an observer told Mizzima.
A video shot Sunday by a dissident group, Democratic Voice of Burma, showed a monk, covered in bruises, floating face down in a Yangon river. It was not clear how long the body had been in the river.Yesterday I was a bit rough on CNN's Dan Rivers for his trip "inside" during the crisis, with his visit to the Thai-Burma bordertown Tachilek. The story that would help others understand the Burmese freedom movement wasn't to be found there, but Dan returned to Bangkok and he found it here.
A young man had fled from the carnage in Rangoon and made his way through eastern Burma to the border -- likely through the Myawaddy - Mae Sot (Tak province, Thailand) crossing -- and waded across the river which separates the two countries there.
If that was his route, I momentarily entered Burma the same way 17 years ago. For about five minutes. I would not (and will not) financially support the tyrants by going as a tourist -- which is what every tourist does when they go in with visa, buying the compulsory foreign exchange certificates, etc. That's why the NLD and Suu Kyi have asked people not to go at all. You're putting money directly into the tyrants' pockets.
"Please use your freedom to promote ours!"The Burmese man was promptly robbed of his money by Thai police, but made his way to Bangkok on the train. He somehow connected with Dan Rivers, who helped him to phone his family. He had been present at the now famous Sule Junction incident captured on video by Democratic Voice of Burma.- Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Look for the clip titled Running from Myanmar. Good story Mr. Rivers.
From The Nation:
400 Burmese in Tak pray for compatriots in Burma
Tak - About 400 Burmese people gathered at a clinic in this border province Friday morning to pray for their compatriots who are fighting for democracy in their country.What a wonderful woman she is, Doctor Cynthia. She has been helping the refugees for many years in Mae Sot.
The Burmese people gathered at the clinic of Doctor Cynthia Maung, a Magsaysay award winner, in Mae Sot.
They took part in the Christian, Islamic and Buddhist praying ceremonies to pray for their compatriots to win in the fight for democracy.
Police foil Burmese workers' plan to rally in front of Burmese embassy
Samut Sakhon - Police dispersed some 40 Burmese workers who gathered here late Saturday night to travel to rally in front of the Burmese embassy in Bangkok Sunday.I've heard the same sort of thing from Singapore -- Burmese legal migrant workers being warned not to participate in supportive rallies in the Lion City -- of which there have been many, and more are planned to continue every night this week.
The workers were gathering near a vehicle flyover in Krathum Ban district and were negotiating to hire a bus to transport them to Bangkok.
Police questioned their plan and learnt that they wanted to demonstrate against the Burmese junta in front of the Burmese embassy.
The workers were found to carry proper working permits so they were asked to disperse and go home.