Myanmar pro-democracy groups and activists are marking the first anniversary of a bloody crackdown on anti-government demonstrations by the country’s ruling military. The crackdown last September followed weeks of protests triggered by a sudden hike in fuel prices after the government slashed subsidies.
The price rises added massively to the hardships suffered by many of Myanmar’s people, millions of whom struggle with grinding poverty on a daily basis. But one year on from the protests Al Jazeera’s special correspondent in Myanmar said the situation in the country was, if anything, worse. Our correspondent, who we are not naming for safety reasons, says a noticeable rise in the number of street beggars indicates increased hunger while child labour remains commonplace.
More than 7,000 police were deployed throughout Rangoon on Thursday in a security clampdown that followed a bomb blast near the former capital’s City Hall.
A police source disclosed the extent of the clampdown to The Irrawaddy and said there were plans to raid the homes of dissidents, particularly youth members of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD). Travelers at Rangoon bus stations who could not provide identification documents in police checks were being arrested, said one source.
At least eight people were injured in Thursday morning’s bomb explosion, which occurred at a bus stop outside the Maha Bandoola Garden.
TAKE ACTION – FREE BURMA’S POLITICAL PRISONERS
Ban Ki-moon has said that he will go to Burma later this year, write to him now, tell him why he must secure the release of all of Burma’s political prisoners, email him here: http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/un_action.html
Political prisoners in Burma subjected to horrific torture, routinely denied medical treatment and survive on rotten food and dirty water. Prisoners like Mya Aye, who has been detained in Insein Prison, Rangoon, since August 2007 without charge. He has been imprisoned for 8 of the last 18 years and is denied medical treatment even though he has heart problems and has already suffered one heart attack.
Email Ban Ki-moon now and help us secure the release of all of Burma’s political prisoners: http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/un_action.html. Your email will be copied to all of the Security Council members, ensuring that the world doesn’t forget Burma’s political prisoners.