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Aung San Suu Kyi Greets Protesting Monks in Burma

  • VOA News

Burma's detained pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi has greeted protesting Buddhist monks when they were allowed to march past her home in Rangoon.

Witnesses say soldiers who have been blocking University Avenue since protests began five days ago Saturday allowed at least one thousand monks to approach the opposition leader's home, where she has spent much of the past two decades under house arrest.

According to local witnesses, nearly two thousand monks marched for the fifth straight day to Sule Pagoda in downtown Rangoon.

Also today, witnesses say as many as 10-thousand monks marched through the city of Mandalay in one of their largest demonstrations against the military government.

A group calling itself the All Burma Monks Alliance has called on members of the public to join the monks' protest demonstrations.

The latest wave of demonstrations began Tuesday after the government failed to apologize for using violence against monks in the town of Pakokku on September sixth. The monks were taking part in a nationwide fuel strike that began last month when the government doubled the price of fuel, making transportation difficult for many of Burma's impoverished citizens.

Authorities arrested at least 50 activists in those demonstrations.

Although authorities used tear gas and fired warning shots to break up a protest in Sittwe Tuesday, they have generally refrained from confronting the monks' protest marches. Analysts say the government fears a crackdown could spark public outrage.

Some monks also are refusing to receive alms from the military until the government apologizes.

Monks are highly regarded in the devoutly Buddhist country and are credited with helping rally popular support for a 1988 protest against the government. Security forces ended those demonstrations with deadly force.
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