Burma Protest

Campaigners in 30 cities around the world are staging a series of rallies against the bloody crackdown on anti-government protests in Burma.The marches, starting at noon, began in New Zealand then moved to Asia and Europe, ahead of North America later.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown met marchers in London and vowed to keep “pressure for change” and push for more EU sanctions against the regime.

Make that 31! Protest at Total in Llandudno went well, full report vid and pics in due course. Meanwhile Gordon is not so keen on home grown protesters-

This is rather a ham-fisted attempt to prevent us from demonstrating. What they (the government and police) do is up to them. We will just ignore them and we have the moral and logical high-ground.

Stop the War Coalition planned a march from Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square on Monday – the day parliament resumes – to draw attention to the fact that a lot of us are still thinking about Iraq and to call for the immediate withdrawal of troops. Using an archaic law (the 1839 Metropolitan Police Act), that demonstration has now been banned. Now why would that be? Stop the War Coalition has organised dozens of such demonstrations, and as far as I know not one person has been hurt. So it can’t be public safety that’s at stake.

It would take courage for Gordon Brown to say: “This war was a catastrophe.” It would take even greater courage to admit that the seeds of the catastrophe were in its conception: it wasn’t a good idea badly done (the neocons’ last refuge – “Blame it all on Rumsfeld”), but a bad idea badly done. And it would take perhaps superhuman courage to say: “And now we should withdraw and pay reparations to this poor country.”

I don’t see it happening. But the demonstration will, legal or not: on Monday Tony Benn will lead us as we exercise our right to remind our representatives that, even if Iraq has slipped off their agenda, it’s still on ours. Please join us.

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Burma TV

Myanmar’s military regime Friday broadcast rare footage of detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on state television for the first time in at least four years.The junta also said it had freed hundreds of detained monks, and it restored Internet access after a week, steps that appeared aimed at appeasing world opinion as the generals came under strong attack at the United Nations over their crackdown on pro-democracy protestors.The TV report showed Aung San Suu Kyi with UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari and said he met the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) twice and held talks with regime leader General Than Shwe during his four-day visit this week.

Of course Than Shwe is a wily old bastard and TV is a powerful tool-

He enlisted in the army at the age of 20 and spent a brief period engaged in ‘psychological warfare’.

He has set such pre-conditions on talks that he knows full well it is a false offer merely used to present an image of a regime that is open to negotiation-

The opposition in Yangon dismissed the junta’s offer of talks with Suu Kyi as effectively asking her to abandon the campaign for democracy that has kept her in detention for 12 of the last 18 years.
“They are asking her to confess to offenses that she has not committed,” said Nyan Win, spokesman for the Nobel peace laureate’s National League for Democracy, whose landslide election victory in 1990 was ignored by the generals.

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