Bonus blog: Burma demo

Yes, a bonus blog today! Im just back from the big Burma demo in Trafalgar Square - a fantastic, moving event. The place was swathed in red: armbands, headbands, flags and plenty of Amnesty banners. Check my flickr pics here.

 

There seemed to be a lot of Burmese people there, but it was genuinely moving to see how Londoners, tourists, campaigners and members of the public were all cheering the speeches from Burmese monks, Amnestys Irene Khan, the TUC and one or two of the really committed politicians.

Earlier the protest leaders had met Gordon Brown, an encouraging sign that even amid the Will he? Wont he? election frenzy, the PMs still listening on Burma.

So the demo was part of a coordinated day of protests literally spanning the globe - starting in the Asia-Pacific time zone in New Zealand and Australia, before going all around the world to include countries like Mongolia, Malaysia, India, Austria, France, the UK and Ireland, and finally Canada and the US.

Great stuff. As we were saying in Amnesty interviews in the last few days, its quite humbling to think that weve been out the streets in our thousands to say what we think about something, while doing the same thing in Rangoon has meant killings and beatings. And to hear that Burmese monks have been whacked with police batons but have not hit back, really reminds you of the truly peaceful nature of their protests.

Keep the pressure up for the release of peaceful protestors in Burma here.

So - just time to mention a thoughtful article from Brian Eno in the Guardian today. The dome-headed giant of ambient and experimental music thinks even in this country we should fight to defend our right to march peacefully in the streets of London. He reckons that civil liberties are easily lost and hard to recover - and who am I to disagree with the man behind Babys on fire and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts?

Didnt see Brian at todays demo but Im sure hell be along to one of ours soon. Peace.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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