Tear gas and electric shocks just for expressing a view
Burma is rarely out of the news due to the extreme savagery of a military government which presides over mass political imprisonment, forced labour and torture. But the images of saffron robe-clad monks facing teargas and warning shots are nevertheless a shock.
The demonstrations, by very brave monks and others, have been peaceful the straightforward exercise of their basic human rights to freedom of association and expression. In no way have they warranted the authorities using tear-gas.
And theres also a worry about whats happened to the dozens who have been arrested over the past month we dont know where theyre being detained, and as such the monks and others are at risk of torture. The Independent today has an excellent report on those who dare to speak out in defiance of Burmas military junta.
If the repression of those expressing a view in Burma doesnt come as a surprise, it should do in the States. Yesterday officers Tasered a 21-year old student in Florida, already handcuffed and lying on the ground, after he began to protest at a Senator John Kerry meeting. In full view of a large audience and the former Presidential candidate, officers drew a Taser on 21-year old Andrew Meyer who wasnt armed or behaving in a dangerous manner.
It really is incredible how this very dangerous electro-shock weapon which is so easily open to abuse and can kill, has become so sanitised. I can hardly believe that had the officers begun to whack the student with a baton in front of hundreds of others (including a Senator) people would remain sitting so calmly in their seat.
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.