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Monks in Kachin state storm out of confinement to protest

Kachin News Group, September 23, 2007

Bhamo, Kachin (Burma) -- In total defiance of the Burmese military junta's dictat where hundreds of them were confined in monasteries for over a week by the authorities, monks in Myitkyina Township and Bhamo city in Kachin State, northern Burma broke free and hit the streets in protest.

Monks thronged the streets in two major cities Myitkyina and Bhamo in Kachin State for the first time since the 1988 democracy uprising.

In Myitkyina Township, capital of Kachin State, over 200 monks marched along Ledo Road from Maymyint quarter to the Clock Tower downtown at 11 a.m. local time, eyewitnesses told KNG this afternoon.

The monks stopped for a while at the Yuzana Monastery in Yuzana Quarter. Over 300 monks gathered at the monastery.  They started their protest march from the Yuzana Monastery this afternoon, said a source close to the monastery.

The silent march of the monks' is being followed by over 200 civilians on bicycles, motorcycles and cars, said eyewitnesses.

In Bhamo city, the second largest in Kachin State, over 100 monks marched against the ruling junta early this morning along major roads. They later gathered at the Theindawgyi Monastery along with over 300 monks before 7:30 a.m. according to monastery sources.

Last Friday, an unidentified monk threw a packet of letters into the  entrance of the Bhamo University. The letter was taken to the principal by a school car driver. It said:  "We are ready to demonstrate against the junta", said sources among students.

In Kachin State, the demonstration by monks comes in the wake of university students' poster movement against the junta early this month in Myitkyina and last Tuesday in Bhamo.

Last week, the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) instructed all churches under its convention to hold a special prayer programme for genuine peace in post National Convention Burma.

For over a week, monks in Kachin State had been forcibly stopped from going about their religious practice of food collection from devotees' homes.  The military regime kept the monks confined to their rooms and arranged for their food to stop them from joining the movement launched by monks elsewhere in Burma.

Kachin state has finally caught up with the wave of protest by monks against the junta in major cities of Burma, including Rangoon, Pakokko, Kyaukpadaung and Mandalay.

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