Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Three killed as Myanmar troops battle protests

The situation in Burma has gotten bad -- the military is firing on and killing peaceful demonstrators. The world is watching, but watching is not enough.

From Reuters:

YANGON (Reuters) - Seething crowds of Buddhist monks and civilians filled the streets of Myanmar's main city on Wednesday, defying warning shots, tear gas and baton charges meant to quell the biggest anti-junta protests in 20 years.

Two monks and a civilian were killed, hospital and monastery sources said, as decades of pent-up frustration at 45 years of unbroken military rule in the former Burma produced the largest crowds yet during a month of protests.

The United States and the European Union condemned the violence against demonstrators and asked the U.N. Security Council to consider sanctions against Myanmar. The Security Council planned to meet on the Myanmar crisis later on Wednesday.

Some witnesses estimated 100,000 people took to the streets on Wednesday despite fears of a repeat of the ruthless suppression of Myanmar's last major uprising, in 1988, when soldiers opened fire, killing an estimated 3,000 people.

"They are marching down the streets, with the monks in the middle and ordinary people either side. They are shielding them, forming a human chain," one witness said over almost deafening roars of anger at security forces.

Read the rest.

Sanctions will do nothing. The UN needs to threaten and be ready to back up an international response that should include completely isolating Burma from the world community -- no imports and no exports. If that isn't sufficient, then other options need to be addressed.

The people of Burma fairly elected a new government more than ten years ago, but the military junta rejected the results and maintained power. How long can we stand for this oppression of a people who clearly want a democratic and free nation?

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