Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

1 October 2007

Military stamps out mass protests

Military stamps out mass protests
A heavy military presence on Myanmar's streets, combined with mass arrests, has stamped out the massive protests of the past week. Huge numbers of troops are visible on street corners across Yangon, the focal point for the demonstrations, and fear is widespread.

The flood of reports in the city of alleged brutal killings, disappearances and arrests is causing major concern for the people of Myanmar and those watching the continuing crisis.

However, it remains extremely difficult for anyone to confirm details about who has been arrested, where they are held, why and under what circumstances. This uncertainty is partly as a consequence of restrictions on Internet and phone use.

Security forces have scaled up their efforts to curb the mass distribution of images and blogs providing information about the crackdown. Internet access remains limited and phone lines, including of diplomats, appear to have been cut. Random searches for cameras and mobile phones have reportedly been introduced in Yangon, with arrests taking place.

Over the past week, security forces in Myanmar have raided monasteries and attacked peaceful demonstrators, firing live bullets as well as tear gas and beating protesters with batons.

The authorities have acknowledged 10 deaths, including a Japanese video journalist, Kenji Nagai, who was killed when troops opened fire on a group of chanting demonstrators. However, it is feared that the actual number of fatalities is far higher.

Amnesty International believes that at least 1,000 people have been arrested in Yangon alone, the majority of them monks. Arrests are also reported from towns and cities across the country.  This is in addition to at least 150 other persons arrested in August at the onset of the protests. Numerous key figures in the National League for Democracy, the main opposition party, and other activists are among those arrested.

Amnesty International has condemned the use of violence against peaceful protestors and is seriously concerned at the safety of all those detained across the country. The organisation has called on the authorities to ensure that detainees are not subjected to torture or any other ill-treatment.

Amnesty International has also called on the United Nations Security Council to immediately impose a comprehensive and mandatory arms embargo on the country.  

"An unambiguous message must be sent urgently to Myanmar military leaders that their brutal crackdown on peaceful protestors will not be tolerated or fuelled by any member of the international community," said Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

Read More

Violent crackdown on protesters continues in Myanmar (News, 28 September 2007)
Myanmar authorities step up crackdown on protesters (News, 27 September 2007)
Myanmar demonstrators defiant in face of escalating repression (News, 26 September 2007)


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