Where are Myanmar's monks?

October 2, 2007


Source: The Buddhist Channel/The Globe and Mail


After paying a heavy price for their uprising, Myanmar's monks are nursing their wounds and hoping for international action against the military junta that crushed their peaceful protests with bullets and tear gas.

A new estimate by a well-connected dissident group has concluded that 138 people were killed and about 6,000 detained, including about 2,400 Buddhist monks, when the regime smashed the anti-government protests last week.

Those numbers were issued by the Democratic Voice of Burma, a dissident news group based in Norway with close ties to pro-democracy activists.

Another report said many of the arrested monks are being held at a former race course, where they were forced to give up their robes and change into civilian clothes.

Several monasteries, brutally raided by police and soldiers last week, are nearly empty now.

Shari Villarosa, the top U.S. diplomat in Myanmar, told the Associated Press yesterday, "We do believe the death toll is higher than acknowledged by the government. We are doing our best to get more precise, more detailed information, not only in terms of deaths but also arrests."

Ms. Villarosa said her staff had visited up to 15 monasteries around Rangoon and every single one was empty.