Monday, September 24, 2007

Democratic Revolution in Myanmar (Burma)?

For the past week, Buddhist monks in Myanmar (Burma) have taken to the streets in increasing numbers to protest the repressive military regime, following a sharp increase in oil prices. For the past couples of days, they have been joined by celebrities and civilians, seeking peaceful change and a democratic nation. It is estimated that the monks led 100,000 in today's protest.

The repressive Burmese government, has been allowing most the protests to go forward, in what is being termed "The Yellow Revolution." Whether that is due to respect for the monks--most of the military are Buddhists, and the monks enjoy high status within their county--or whether the regime is simply taking its time to react as in 1988 when the last large scale protests occurred is unknown. There is a video from the BBC at Youtube, as well as an updated report. The Irwaddy, a Burmese news magazine in exile in Thailand, has been covering the events in detail with frequent updates.

This response might be considered heartening, except for the fact that in 1988, similar types of protests were so successful that the capital city, Yangon (Rangoon) was completely in the hands of protesters until a deadly military crackdown ended the protests in hours.


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