Myanmar protesters beaten by police

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

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

Myanmar police have beaten up to 700 protesters with batons, according to witnesses. The crowd was gathered near a pagoda in Rangoon, and included students and Buddhist monks. AFP reported that only monks were allowed to enter the pagoda, and Reuters has quoted witnesses as saying that tear gas was used to disperse the monks.

Some monks were taken away by police in trucks. This is the first time that Myanmar security forces have used violence against the protests, which are now in their ninth day.

Location of Myanmar

Myanmar authorities have imposed a curfew from dusk until dawn, and have also banned public gatherings of more than five people. Troops and riot police have begun taking positions near monasteries, opposition party headquarters, and the house of pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi.

Comedian Zaganar was arrested at his home overnight. He has previously spoken publicly in support of the protests.

The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, announced earlier today that the Australian government is following events in Myanmar closely, and urged the Myanmar government to show restraint. He also called for the respect of "the legitimate right of Myanmar citizens to peaceful protest."