Burma: Thousands expected on streets of london to support burmese protesters

Gordon Brown to meet delegation at Downing Street

Burmese monks will take centre stage in London today as Amnesty International highlights the crisis in Burma.

At noon, the monks will scatter petals into the Thames from Westminster Bridge to show their solidarity with the peaceful protestors in Burma and to call for the release of all the country’s prisoners of conscience. The symbolic gesture is the focus of a march co-ordinated by Amnesty International, which leaves Tate Britain at 11am on its way to Trafalgar Square.

Earlier, the Prime Minister will meet a high-level delegation at Downing Street, including the monks, representatives of Burma Campaign UK and Irene Khan, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

Irene Khan said: “Images of last week’s brutal crackdown on peaceful protestors must not be quickly forgotten. The Burmese authorities must immediately release all of those who were arrested last week, as well as all prisoners of conscience held since before the recent events.

“With communications greatly hampered into and out of Burma making it more difficult to monitor the human rights situation, international outcry is even more essential to give a message to the Burmese authorities that the world is still watching the situation in Burma.”

The London demonstration is one of many being held across the world today. Amnesty International is co-ordinating similar demonstrations in Edinburgh, Mongolia, Malaysia, Thailand, Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US.

Background

  • Reports emerging from Burma say mass arrests continue. Amnesty International believes that at least 1,000 people were arrested in Rangoon alone immediately following the brutal crackdown, the majority of them monks. Arrests were 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.
  • To date, the authorities have acknowledged 10 deaths, including a Japanese
  • Video journalist. However, Amnesty International fears that the actual number of fatalities is far higher.
  • Last week, security forces in Burma raided numerous monasteries and attacked peaceful demonstrators, firing live bullets as well as tear gas and beating protesters with batons to end a wave of peaceful protests calling for reduced commodity prices and democratic reform.

More information about the situation in Burma

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