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Monks mark 'saffron revolution'

Five-year anniversary represents first public commemoration of protests

Some monks remain imprisoned following the protests in 2007 Some monks remain imprisoned following the protests in 2007
  • Min Set, Yangon
  • Myanmar
  • September 26, 2012
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More than 100 people today marked the fifth anniversary of Yangon’s ‘Saffron Revolution’, the first time they have been able to do so without restrictions following recent democratic reforms.

In the first public commemoration of the protests, which saw at least 31 people killed and hundreds of monks imprisoned, monks and activists gathered at Magway Monastery in the north of Myanmar’s largest city Yangon.

Ashin Par Maukha, a monk at the monastery, said they gathered today so that monks could reunite with ordinary citizens, just as they had in the September 2007 protests that started as a reaction to rising fuel prices before quickly escalating into a call for democracy.

“The Saffron Revolution occurred because we could no longer bear the sorrows and suffering of our people,” he said.

Ashin Par Maukha also called for the authorities to release those who remain behind bars after the military conducted night-time raids of monasteries during the 2007 protests and detained monks.

Some have been released as part of prisoner amnesties since President Thein Sein took office in March last year but others still remain behind bars.

“The military government treated monks like dark stains and we can’t forget it,” said a monk at the ceremony who did not give his name.

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