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Myanmar officials take to streets to warn against protests

AFP/ir, September 25, 2007

YANGON, Myanmar -- Myanmar officials riding on trucks in central Yangon used loudspeakers uesday to warn against new anti-government protests, one day after Buddhist monks led 100,000 people in the streets.

Video of the protests taken on September 24, 2007

"We warn the monks and the people not to participate in protest marches," local government officials shouted into loudspeakers from at least two trucks circling around the nation's commercial hub.

"We will take action under the existing law," they warned, echoing threats carried in state media since late Monday.

More protests were expected Tuesday, again led by the monks whose revered status has made them rallying figures for public anger that erupted more than one month ago after a crippling hike in fuel prices.

State media Tuesday explicitly ordered the monks to stay out of politics, and accused foreign media of fuelling the protests that have become the biggest challenge to the government in nearly 20 years.

"All the members of the Sangha (clergy) residing in the Union of Myanmar are directed to avoid getting involved in party politics and instigation," the official New Light of Myanmar newspaper said.

"Some foreign media telecasting the protests aim to cause unrest in Myanmar," the paper said.

The warnings in the newspaper, a government mouthpiece, mirrored threats of a crackdown carried on state television late Monday.

In addition to the march in Yangon, the newspaper said protests have taken place in seven of the nation's 14 provinces.

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