Burmese security forces fired directly on protesting monks and other demonstrators in Rangoon. ASEAN people need to show solidarity with the people of Burma by supporting their struggle for democratization.
|The monks were knelling in prayer when attacked, beaten with batons and kicked with boots before being taken away by troops.|
The heavy-handed political crackdown and brutal physical attacks on democracy groups in Burma have drawn headlines in the international media, prompting the EU, individual Western governments and the UN to respond with statements of censure and demands for detainees to be released. However, press releases and calls on the regime to respect human rights and free activists are no longer enough. More than 20 years of such verbal disapproval have achieved nothing—it is time that the international community, governments and policymakers engaged in deep thought on what to do with the regime in Burma.
Burmese security forces fired directly on protesting monks and other demonstrators in Rangoon on Wednesday, reportedly killing three monks and one woman in separate Rangoon clashes, according to unconfirmed reports.
One monk died as he tried to take a weapon away from a soldier, and two others were beaten to death.
Witnesses said the military government fired at protesters, hurled tear gas and wielded batons to break up protests in Rangoon.
On Wednesday afternoon, protesters and security forces also clashed again near Shwedagon Pagoda and later on a road leading to Sule Pagoda.
Dozens of protesters and activists including members of the NLD, protesting Buddhist monks and other protest leaders were arrested throughout the day at different areas in Rangoon, in Mandalay and in Kachin state.
This page documents the 2007 people's protests in Burma against the fuel price hike, their impoverishment at the hands of an uncompromising and self-engrossed junta, and their desperate demands for change despite a disinterested international community."
With the escalation of protest rallies comes the heightened calls for the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) military junta to give in to people's demands: (1) that their basic needs are met; (2) the release of all political prisoners; and, (3) for the military junta to sit down on a dialogue for national reconciliation.
It is now, more than ever, that we need to show our solidarity with the people of Burma; to support their struggle for democratization.
ASEAN governments should seize the opportunity to accompany Burma to democratization and realize their goals of "caring and sharing community". For the governments to stand in support of the popular clamour for dialogue and reconciliation and put pressure on the SPDC to refrain from using violence and sit down and dialogue with its people.
"Singapore is deeply troubled and concerned by reports that the demonstrations in Yangon have been suppressed by force. We urge the Myanmar authorities to exercise utmost restraint. Singapore welcomes the decision of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to send Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari to Myanmar. We fully support any initiative by the UN which would help defuse the situation.
We urge the Myanmar authorities to admit Mr Gambari into Myanmar and
grant him full access to all players in Myanmar. A peaceful resolution to the situation in Myanmar will require the cooperation and involvement of all parties,including the military."
Note: Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo is the current Chairman of the ASEAN Standing Committee.
Sources and Relevant Links:
Singapore: MFA SPOKESMAN'S COMMENTS ON THE SITUATION IN MYANMAR 27 September 2007
IID Defend the people of Burma, UN, ASEAN urged 26 September 2007
Irrawaddy Mass Protest Rocks Burma
Irrawaddy Time For Action, Not Words 27 August 2007
Forum Asia Burmese People Continue Marching Despite Military Threat 21 September 2007