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Monks gather for new protest against junta

The monks gather at Shwedagon Pagoda, urging their supporters to remain peaceful and to chant only prayers for a march through Yangon.

world Updated: Sep 24, 2007 12:47 IST

About 500 monks gathered at Myanmar's golden Shwedagon Pagoda on Monday, urging their supporters to remain peaceful and to chant only prayers for a march through Yangon, witnesses said.

"We are marching for the people," one said to the crowd through a megaphone, urging their supporters to avoid chanting political slogans as they assembled at Myanmar's holiest shrine.

He urged the crowd only to chant prayers calling for peace and loving kindness, incantations that the monks have recited every day since they began marching through the nation's commercial hub Yangon on last Tuesday.

Two leading actors along with a group of civilains had come earlier to the pagoda to bring food, water and other supplies to the monks.

Security was light around the pagoda, although extra forces were again deployed around the home of detained democracy Aung San Suu Kyi, witnesses said.

Armed guards on Saturday had allowed about 2,000 monks and their supporters to pray outside the home of the Nobel Peace Prizer winner, who opened her gate to greet them.

The 15-minute encounter galvanised the protest movement, with 20,000 monks, nuns and supporters marching through Yangon on Sunday in the biggest protest seen in Yangon in nearly two decades.