Burma's military rulers arrest leaders of pro-democracy protests

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Monks Protesting in Burma, September 2007.
Image: Racoles.

Three of the last remaining leaders of the 88 Generation Students Group, which led the recent pro-democracy rallies in Burma, have been arrested by Burma's military junta.

The wave of protests, which began on August 15, 2007, was triggered by the Burmese government's decision to remove fuel subsidies, leading to dramatic increases in the price of diesel and petrol. The Burmese government's subsequent violent crackdown on the protests was condemned by the United States, Britain, and France, among other nations. On October 12, the U.N. Security Council released a statement saying that it "strongly deplores" Burma's response to the protests.

The three leaders, named Htay Kywe, Mie Mie, and Aung Thu, were arrested on Saturday morning in Rangoon, according to dissident sources. Human rights group Amnesty International expressed extreme concern for the well being of the three activists, saying that they "risk torture and ill treatment."

On Saturday, thousands attended a pro-government rally in Rangoon in which participants denounced Western countries and media. The participants in the rally had allegedly been paid to join the demonstration and were transported to the area by bus. One of the participants in the rally told AFP news agency that each factory in the city's industrial zone had been obliged to send 50 participants to the rally.


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