Monday, September 24, 2007

Myanmar issues ominous warning to protesting monks after largest demonstration in 2 decades

YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar's military government issued an ominous warning on Monday to monks leading the strongest protest movement in two decades, telling senior Buddhist clerics that unless they restrained their juniors, the government would take action on its own.

As many as 100,000 protesters led by a phalanx of barefoot monks marched Monday through Yangon, the most powerful show of strength yet from the movement that has grown in just a week from faltering demonstrations to one rivaling the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, which was violently crushed by the military.

Afterward, Brig. Gen. Thura Myint Maung, Myanmar's religious affairs minister, was shown on state television delivering the warning during a meeting at the Kaba Aye pagoda in Yangon, the country's biggest city. He accused the protesting monks of being instigated by the regime's domestic and foreign enemies, but did not say how they might be punished.