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Situation in Burma on Friday, September 28, 2007 (hour by hour account from 11.00 am to 5.20 pm)

Mizzima news, Sept. 28, 2007

Yangon, Myanmar -- There is an urgent report that Burmese troops from middle Burma has started to march towards Rangoon. The reported troops are from Central Command based in Taung Oo and South East Command. At this reporting, it is not clear if the troops are marching to reinforce or to challenge the troops in Rangoon for shooting the Buddhist monks.

The following is a chronology of events as reported in Mizzima News. All time indicated are Burmese Standard time, (GMT +6:30 hours), September 28, 2007

5:20 p.m
Shooting in Pazuntaung: Troops opened fire on more than 10,000 protesters in Pazuntaung at about 4 p.m (local time). At least three people received injuries. Soon after. the crowd dispersed.

5:00 p.m
Protesters reportedly beaten to death by soldiers, goons and convicts in Pansadan and China town. Several protesters were reportedly beaten to death during a crackdown in Pansodan and China town in the heart of Rangoon at about 3:00 p.m. (local time), protesters said. The baton charges and brutal beatings carried out by soldiers led by officials, including members of the Swan Arrshin, USDA and former convicts, who were believed to have been freed to be used in the crack down.

A protester told Mizzima:

"I was in Sule but went home at about 2 p.m. (local time). I left because the situation was getting ugly. There were a lot of members of USDA and former prisoners. Yesterday the soldiers dropped about four truck loads of former prisoners to crackdown on the protesters. When I looked at them, I saw their legs and bodies were swollen. And they carried bags in which they had catapults and 'ginkalih'. Soldiers were checking the people from behind."

"Just now someone called me from the 40th Street and told me that there was a pool of blood on Pansodan flyover and people in China town had to flee because of the shooting. First the protesters marched from Sule to Pansodan and from Pansodan to Bar Street. And when they arrived on Pansodan Street, soldiers did not fire but started beating up the people. Members of Swan Arrshin also started assaulting them with iron rods. They were beating people to death. It all happened at about 3 p.m (local time)."

"People started fleeing to the 17th Street and to China town. But the soldiers blocked the road on Lanmadaw Street. So far we don't know how many deaths have occurred but I am sure there are more than a hundred deaths. Thousands have been arrested. Since Insein prison cannot accommodate anymore people they are being detained at the Government Technical College (GTC)."

"We are worried about the fate of the monks arrested and dragged into trucks like animals on September 26, and also for those monks locked inside the pagoda. A lot of monks are locked up inside the monasteries. The government has announced that nine people have died but that is not true, I am sure there are at least a hundred deaths."

3:40 p.m
Junta seals off Rangoon general hospital compound.

3:30 p.m
WHO officials said they have rush to the Rangoon general hospital to donate medicines after hearing that several people have been injured after troops shot protesters. However, the hospital authorities rejected the donation and sent them back.

When Mizzima contacted the Rangoon general hospital, to confirm of the information, officials of the hospital did not deny or confirm the information but cut off the telephone

An eyewitness account of a local who reached near the Sule pagoda

"Students numbering about 30,000 holding the flag of a fighting peacock started marching from Nyaungpinlay market on the Lanmadaw street but did not come to Sule pagoda side and headed for the other side. And inside the Sule Park people with batons and machetes are preparing to attack. All together there are about 3000 to 4000 people waiting to attack near the Sule area. People are also gathering near the Sule pagoda and are defying the junta in their own way."

"In most of the street corners near the Sule, people are waiting with batons and machetes to attack any members of Swan Arrshin if they would appear."

Security in Rangoon has been entrusted to the regiment 66 and 77. Both the regiment divided areas of control with regiment 77 taking care of north and south Okklapah townships, while regiment 66 takes care of downtown Rangoon.

2:50 p.m
"People are now shouting slogans on Pansodan Street. And from the corner the street, the soldiers are watching. The people are shouting and running. Now there are more than 10,000 people here. But soldiers' strength remains the same. What we fear is they will come form behind and block us," a protester told Mizzima.

2:45 p.m
Police this morning seized a fighting peacock flag brought by students on the 27th Street in Rangoon.

2:20 p.m
Protesters defy junta's order for the third day

More than 100 protesters have gathered on Pansodan Street and begun to demonstrate. More people are seen joining the demonstration.

2:10 p.m
Protesters versus troops in Sule: There are about 1,500 protesters who have gathered near the Thamada cinema hall.Soldiers are waiting for them to come to Sule pagoda.

2:00 p.m
Military trucks leave North Okklapah: About 17 military trucks, was positioned at Maelahmu pagoda in North Okklapah, were seen moving out of the township through the Kabba Aye Pagoda Street.

An eyewitness said:

"I heard that there were military trucks in our locality, so I went out to look and saw 17 military trucks positioned at Maelahmu pagoda. But from there all the trucks moved back at about 1 p.m. (local time) towards Rangoon. They went through the Kabba Aye pagoda road. In one truck there were about 30 to 40 soldiers. No soldiers were left behind. I heard rumours that there is diverse opinion in the military. But it cannot be confirmed. Because they just came here and there are no shootings and it is difficult ot find out what is going on between them."

"The soldiers were stationed at Maelahmu pagoda at about 9:30 or 10 this morning. But now there are no more soldiers. All of them went back. And everything is normal now, and there are no protests here"

"At the Mealahmu pagoda there is a monastery. We thought that the soldiers must have come to the monastery. But they did nothing to the monastery, and they all headed to Rangoon through Kabba Aye Pagoda road."

1:50 p.m
Sporadic protest in Theingyi Market: "Earlier there were about 5000 protesters. They were closeted on the road near Theingyi market, so they disperses. We don't know where they will go and gather. We cannot see the other end but on this side there are three military trucks blocking the road. There are about 100 soldiers," an eyewitness told Mizzima.

1:30 p.m
The troops in Rangoon not backing off: "They went inside Maelahmu pagoda in North Okklapah Township. In front of the pagoda they parked a jeep which carried members of the Swan Arrshin. It is as if they are blocking the road not to allow any civilians to enter. There are about four military trucks, and I think they are putting people inside the trucks. The troops in Rangoon are not backing off but their numbers are increasing. And they are choosing places where the people are to be transfered," an analyst told Mizzima.

Situation in Rangoon: "A lot of people are saying that we must fight against the junta because we will not get the same opportunity later. We must end this show now. They were talking among themselves. And they were unhappy. A lot of people in the locality also talked the same way. They said even today they will continue," a source in Rangoon told Mizzima.

More than 30 security personnel in camouflage fatigues were seen inside the compound of Tharmwe basic high school No. 3 and N.4.

Though all government schools are open, most of the students did not attend.

Soldiers and security forces are seen continuously patrolling the city and barbed wire barricades have been put outside the police station in Kyauktada Township in the heart of the city. In the police station more soldiers and policemen are being sent as reinforcements. Many security personnel are deployed in the Sule area.

Junta arrest more monks including Sayadaw [senior Sangha] U Nyanihthara of Thapeikaing.

11:15 a.m
The Burmese authorities since this morning has disconnected all internet lines.

11:00 a.m
Decay in junta's administrative mechanism: "The Township Peace and Development offices are closed since yesterday. Some officials are avoiding office. Some have gone into hiding. The administrative mechanism is starting to decay and it is affecting up to the district level. We are not even daring to stay in our own house," a local resident of Tharmwe told Mizzima.

4:30 p.m.
Security forces and soldiers start beating protesters in Mandalay: Protesting crowds in Mandalay are being brutally beaten and some have been arrested by soldiers and security forces, eyewitnesses said.

An eyewitness told Mizzima:

"Here, on our side the shooting, beatings and arrests are still continuing. On the 84th Street helicopters are hovering overhead. Soldiers fired warning shots into the sky. The beatings are severe, and a lot of soldiers have been positioned. Near us there are about 30 to 40 soldiers.

The shooting, beatings and arresting are mainly on the 84th and on 31st Streets. There are a lot of onlookers, but when they all gathered together they start shouting. Soldiers are trying to prevent the protesters from combining with the monks. The monks also marched today ahead of us and there are about 150 of them. And when the people started following the monks, the soldiers started arresting and beating them. Right in front of us about six people were arrested, most of them were onlookers. The soldiers took whoever they could catch. Soldiers fire more than ten shots."

Another eyewitness spoke to Mizzima:

"Beatings and arrests took place mainly on 35th and 84th Streets. And the 34th and 85th Streets are blocked. About 70 monks marched and six of them were arrested. And onlookers and bystanders were also beaten and some were arrested. Now there is another group coming on motorbikes. They are now near the 35th and 34th Streets. The traffic was stopped.

"When people could not it tolerate any more they started shouting, but when the soldiers fired into the sky they all ran. Soldiers also chased them in vehicles. Those caught were arrested, and the soldiers also lassoed those running. There are a lot of people and they are crowded on the 35th street. As thousands of people are gathering the traffic is blocked. Security forces are blocking the road with their shields. What we heard now is that monks in the Mya Tuang monastery were ordered to go back to their hometowns within three days. And if they don't, the authorities said they will raid the monastery. A helicopter is also seen flying over the Phayagyi area. They are monitoring from above. In the Phayagyi area there are a lot of monasteries."

"Monks from Mya Tuang monastery also marched today. But since the roads are blocked they went back to the monastery. The authorities blocked the road in three or four rows. Regiments 33 and 99 have been used in Mandalay but now it reinforced with two more regiments. Security has been tightened and soldiers from their trucks are shooting video clips of the events. Some people here said the 33 regiment is now approaching the monks, but I am not sure of that. But according to what I can see there is no such signs. What is evident is the soldiers are determined to crackdown."

"Soldiers are shooting into the sky and using batons to beat the people. Onlookers and bystanders were also beaten and arrested. They were taken to Dhama Beikman in 35th and 85th Street junction. We don't know where they are being taken from there."

"People are still crowded at 35th Street. There are fire engines as well. But so far no water canons have been used. We heard is that the in is medicated and will lead to itching. "

2:45 p.m
Situation in Mandalay: Soldiers placed on roads where monks are likely to stage protest

"On the roads in an interval of about 50 feet, military trucks are stationed. Another 50 feet away soldiers stood guard. They have surrounded the monasteries, and blocked it. Soldiers have blocked the Phayagyi and Mya Tuang monasteries so that monks cannot come out. The people are looking forward to monks coming out," said a local resident in Mandalay.

Situation is near normal in Mandalay and schools and office remain open.

12:30 p.m
As witnessed by a local resident: "They are patrolling all over Mandalay town. The commander is leading the patrol. There are about 10 trucks doing the rounds. They stopped at 84th Street and requested the monks there to remain inside the monastery."

The commander requested monks in Mya Taung and Ma Soe Yein Monasteries not to come out.

"They are from the 33 regiment. More fire engines are positioned near the monasteries. Monks in the monasteries said they saw some troops who looked like Chinese or Wa troops taking up positions near the monasteries. There are about 300 soldiers."

"They drove off to the 84th Street. There were about ten to twelve trucks."

11 a.m
Medicated water for crack down on protesters in Mandalay: Rumors of the use of medicated-water to crackdown on protestors in Mandalay are making the rounds among local people.

A local resident talked about the situation in Mandalay

"We are hearing that there are fire engines filled with medicated-water and that the authorities will use water canons to disperse the crowd. The water is mixed with medicines and if the water is splashed on the people they will feel itchy and will not be able to continue protesting. Yesterday even the teargas created itchiness. A monk was badly affected, and there was nothing people could do to help him.

Yesterday, people were assaulted when angry mobs start pelting stones at the security forces. There were a lot of people yesterday. The people are not scared; everybody rushed to where there was confrontation with security forces. Since Mandalay is a city with a lot of motorcycles and people on bikes rushed to places where the crowds swelled leading to jams.

The Mya Taung monastery on the 35th Street was blocked but now security has been extended to the 36 th. Earlier one side use to be open but now it is blocked on both sides. In Zegyo area, the situation is normal and no blocking of roads is in evidence. But there is security on the 38th and 39th streets. And on the 84th street and towards Phayagyi there are soldiers on guard. But yesterday they opened it in the evening. The curfew is from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Since monks from the big monasteries could not come out, people gathered in the least expected areas.

It is important to see what Mr. Ibarhim Gambari will do. But we cannot depend too much on the UN, because they are just doing things in diplomatic way. Each time they come they only condemn or urge and nothing much happens. So, we are only hoping and praying that the situation in Mandalay will not get worse like in Rangoon.

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