Hundreds of monks arrested in monastery raids; continue protests

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Monks protest in Myanmar, September 24, 2007.
Image: racoles.

At least 200 monks have been arrested in Myanmar during night-time raids on monasteries not long before sunrise. Government forces began to crack down on protesters after several days of peaceful demonstrations, but despite the violent treatment from military personnel, the monks returned to the streets in the morning.

100 monks were taken by security forces when they raided a monastery at Ngwe Kyaryan. "Only two or three sick monks were left behind", a witness near the monastery said. Some reports state that shots have been fired at demonstrators, with one "collapsing", but it's not known if the individual was shot.

"There are fire trucks, water cannons positioned in a number of places - there are about three of them outside city hall. There are a number of prison vans also to be seen in certain places", said Mark Canning, the British ambassador in Rangoon.

The United States and European Union have said that they are deeply troubled by events, issuing a statement calling on the United Nations Security Council to consider sanctions, but China and Russia do not believe sanctions will "be helpful" and immediately dismissed the call, calling the situation a matter for the "internal government" of Myanmar.

"France will not accept the gagging of Burma's opposition", said Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President, who also said that "[the Security Council] expressed their concern vis-a-vis the situation, and have urged restraint, especially from the government of Myanmar."