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Monks lead demonstration in Sittwe

Mizzima news (www.mizzima.com), August 28, 2007

Sittwe, Myanmar -- Buddhist monks in Sittwe town of Arakan state today, for the first time, led a protest march against soaring fuel prices that have led to an increase in commodity prices throughout Burma.

Over 100 Buddhist monks, with slogans demanding a decrease in commodity prices, marched the streets of Sittwe, said an eyewitness.

"They just crossed our office. There were at least 100 monks and novices, and a few civilians. We could see police following them from behind," a government employee, who requested anonymity, told Mizzima over the telephone.

According to one monk in Sittwe, the monks gathered at the Sittwe football ground at about 1:00 p.m. (local time) before taking to the streets.

Similarly, activists staged a protest at Hledan traffic point in Rangoon this afternoon, but were foiled by pro-junta gangs USDA and Swan Arrshin. At least 5 protestors were arrested.

Following the sudden fuel price hike on August 15th, bus fares and transportation costs skyrocketed, causing an increase in price of essential commodities. Public unrest over the fuel price hike, in the form of peaceful protest marches, began in Rangoon and has now spread to other parts of Burma.

The junta has arrested at least 70 people, including 13 prominent 88 generation student leaders, whom the junta has accused of masterminding the recent public protests.

Meanwhile, following rumors that a protest is planned at Shwedagon Pagoda, authorities have heightened security at the pagoda. Sources said authorities have been conducting security checks today on people entering through the eastern gate of the pagoda.

Moreover, at least five people in plainclothes with wireless phones were seen at every gate of the pagoda.


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