Burma to Put Protesters on Trial

December 4, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Bangkok Post


Protesters who participated in the September demonstrations in Rangoon will not be prosecuted if they had acted peacefully, the top Burmese policeman said Monday.

"Only those individuals involved in arson or the possession of illegal weapons will be brought to trial," police chief Khin Yi told a press conference in Naypyitaw, the new capital.

It was the government's first statement on the fate of thousands of people arrested since the anti-regime protests in Rangoon, the former capital, led by Buddhist monks.

The demonstrations, the largest since 1988, ended in a brutal crackdown on September 26-27 that left 15 people dead, according to official estimates.

The actual death [toll] is believed to exceed 100.

More than 3,000 people were arrested in the crackdown and its aftermath. With arrests still occurring on a daily basis, it is difficult to know the real number of people detained for participating in the protests, which were sparked by a shock fuel price hike announced on August 15.