Wednesday, October 31, 2007

200 monks protested in Pakokku, Burma (updated)

This is the first monk protest since the crackdown in September.

BBC reports that 100 monks marched today at a historic town in central
Burma. The monks chanted the metta sutta (sutra of loving kindness) as they marched through Pakokku, the site of an incident last month that triggered pro-democracy protests nationwide." Pakokku is a center for Buddhist learning with more than 80 monasteries.

British ambassador to Burma, Mark Canning, told the BBC he expected further unrest in the country.

I do think this sort of economic and political frustration that is within the population will manifest itself again in the coming months.
Update: The Democratic Voice of Burma reports:

Oct 31, 2007 (DVB)–Around 200 monks from several monasteries in Pakokku staged a walking protest at 8.30 this morning, according to a monk who participated in the march.

The monk said that the protest was a continuation of last month’s demonstrations as he said the monks’ demands have still not been met.

"Our demands are for lower commodity prices, national reconciliation and the immediate release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners," the monk explained.

The monks came from monasteries around Pakokku, including the West and Central monasteries, and chanted metta as they marched three in a row, with monks in the first row holding Sasana flags.

They started walking along Bogyoke road towards Thida road, then turned into Pauk road before ending the march at Shwe Ku pagoda.

The monk said the group was not afraid of the response of the authorities.

"We are not afraid of getting arrested or being tortured. We are doing this for Sasana," he said.

The protest began about one hour after a pro-government rally in the same town ended, and authorities did not intervene to stop the monks’ march.

The monks reportedly notified the authorities in advance, telling them that if a pro-government demonstration was taking place then the monks should also be allowed to hold their protest.

The monk said there would be more and larger demonstrations in the future.

"We did not have much time to organise the protest as we did not actually plan for it, so there weren't a lot of monks. But there will be bigger and more organized protests soon," he said.

The monk said that civilian bystanders supported the protest but were afraid to express this openly.

"We would like to urge people not to be afraid since we are doing this for good future of our country," he said.

Map: BBC News


  1. This could be a crucial turning point. I've said all along that Burma needs momentum, not just a flash in the pan. All revolution is the result of struggle. Struggle , by definition, is prolonged. By defying the Junta's heaviest possible crack down (for I'm sure that's what it was) these relatively few monks have sent a message to other protesters: the struggle must continue.

  2. R&W, indeed the courage shown by the 100 monks is absolutely extraordinary. By tonight, most of Burma will have heard of their protest by VOA or BBC. . .

  3. For sure. These people must know deep down that some (many?) of them will die. I doubt they want to die any more than we do, but they are risking it for a great cause. True courage.


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