Raising Hell – Buddhist Style

September 19, 2007 at 12:09 am Leave a comment

Thousands of Buddhist monks have begun peaceful marches throughout Myanmar (aka Burma) to protest violence and abuses by the military junta.

Anti-government rallies and marches by citizens had begun about a month ago in the capital city of Ragoon after fuel prices were increased 500%. The military government responded harshly with mass arrests and public beatings.

The monks had given the government a Monday deadline to apologize for beatings of several hundred of their people about two weeks ago. The deadline came and went without an apology.

The Alliance of All Burma Buddhist Monks called upon the nations estimated 400,000 monks to stop accepting alms from anyone connected to the military government. Without these rites a devout Buddhist is seen as losing all chance of attaining nirvana or release from the cycle of rebirth, according to al-Jazeera.

 From The Irriwady:

“Their move is seen as a significant confrontation between the Sangha (sons of Buddha) and the state and a big challenge for the military authorities. The vast majority of Burmese citizens are Buddhist, including most of the country’s military leaders.”

Security forces fired tear gas to break up a demonstration by several hundred monks and civilian protesters in Sittwe in Arakan State, but most protests were allowed to proceed unmolested.

The processions of monks in most cities refused to allow citizens to join in the marches, thereby denying the government charges of inciting the public.

CNN reports:

Tuesday’s march also comes on the 19th anniversary of the coup in Myanmar, in which the current junta took over after crushing a failed pro-democracy rebellion that sought an end to military rule, imposed since 1962.

National League for Democracy party led by Aung San Suu Kyi won a general election in 1990, but the junta refused to honor the results. Aung San Suu Kyi has been held in house arrest for more than 11 of the last 17 years.

The Irrawaddy News Magazine

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Entry filed under: Asia, Politics & Politicians, Religion. Tags: , , , , , .

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