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Military arrests monks in Myanmar

The authorities raid several temples and round up more than hundred monks to prevent more protests.

world Updated: Sep 27, 2007, 10:20 IST

Myanmar's military regime rounded up more than a hundred monks in raids of Yangon temples after midnight and stationed hundreds of troops at key sites in the former capital in preparation for more protests on Thursday.

Informed sources said authorities raided several temples early on Thursday and rounded up an unknown number of monks in an effort to prevent more protest marches on Thursday.

Barricades and troops were in place on Thursday morning at key sites in Yangon, including the Shwedagon and Sule pagodas and Bogyoke Street, the main rallying spots for the past nine days of monk-led protests in the city.

The military finally cracked down on the monks' barefoot rebellion Wednesday, beating back monks and their laymen followers from the Shwedagon and Sule pagoda and firing warning shots at the crowds, numbering in the thousands.

The government has claimed that only one person died in the melee and two were injured. Other sources said as many as five died, including monks, and more than 100 were injured.

It was still unclear on Thursday morning whether the monks would take to the streets for a tenth day. Past protests have started about noon, after the monks have taken food and started their midday fast.

There have been reports of similar monk-led protests taking place in other Myanmar cities such as Mandalay and Sittwe.

Myanmar's monks, said to number 400,000, have a long history of political activism. The monkhood played a pivotal role in Myanmar's independence struggle from Great Britain in 1947 and the anti-military demonstrations of 1988, which ended in bloodshed.

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