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Buddhist ceremony postponed in South Dagon

by Aye Nai, DVB, Nov 23, 2007

Rangoon, Burma -- An annual ceremony in South Dagon township, Rangoon, has been postponed after organisers refused to pay money for troops to local authorities.

The Buddhist ceremony, which has been held around 22 to 26 November every year for the past 13 years, was to involve sermons from monks.

When the organising committee went to local temple authorities as usual to ask permission to hold the event, they were told they would have to pay 40,000 kyat towards troop mobilisations if they wanted to hold it at this time.

The organisers refused to pay the fee, arguing that they could not spare the money and that the funds they had raised were not designated for this.

They then went to the township authorities, but they too denied permission for the event to be held on the usual date.

Township authorities told the organisers to postpone the ceremony until 15-19 December due to security concerns because of the number of other events being held at the same time.

Official harassment of monks has continued since the protests in September, and monasteries have faced increased scrutiny.

On 5 November, a monk from Zantila Kamahtan monastery in South Dagon township was arrested in connection with the demonstrations, despite government claims that they had stopped arrests and monastery searched related to the protests.

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