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Peaceful Protest Marks Saffron Revolution Anniversary
by SAW YAN NAING, The Irrawaddy, September 26, 2011
Rangoon, Burma -- Dozens of Rangoon residents marched peacefully through the city on Monday to mark the fourth anniversary of the Saffron Revolution only to be stopped by security forces, according to local sources.
<< The September 26, 2007 "Saffron Revolution", saw thousands of monks protest against the Burmese military regime, which ended in a brutal crackdown
Onlookers watched around 200 marchers, some of them were wearing yellow shirts, set off peacefully from Sule Pagoda in downtown Rangoon at around 1 pm local time towards Kabar Aye Pagoda in North Okkalapa Township.
The Saffron Revolution was led by Buddhist monks across Burma in September 2007. The peaceful protests were brutally quashed by government troops in a crackdown which claimed 31 lives including many monks, according to government figures.
Security guards closely followed and monitored Monday's protest with many officers also deployed near Sule Pagoda. But there is no violent crackdown against the protesters and the event took place peacefully.
“They didn’t shout and hold placards. They just marched peacefully but some wore yellow shirts,” said a witness.
Dozens of people also launched a separate demonstration in North Okkalapa on Monday. They were blocked by Burmese authorities before ending the march peacefully. They repeated the “Metta Sutta” (Buddhist chant for compassion) after being blocked by security forces but then decided to end the march, said a protester.
Meanwhile, separate ceremonies to mark the fourth anniversary of the Saffron Revolution were also held in Rangoon today. Burma opposition party the National League for Democracy held a ceremony at a monastery in southern Okkalapa Township with around 1,000 attendees including monks, party members, representatives of the 88 Generation Student Group, individual MPs and other politicians.
They also called for the immediate release of all political prisoners without condition. An estimated 1,998 political prisoners are currently detained across Burma, according to Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
While some of the protesters present on Monday were activists who demand the release of political prisoners, others were campaigning against the Myitsone Hydropower Dam in Kachin State on the Irrawaddy River.