Saturday, September 22, 2007

Monks allowed past Suu Kyi's house

Buddhist monks march for a fourth straight day on Friday Sept. 21, 2007, in Yangon, Myanmar. About 1,500 Buddhist monks marched through Myanmar's main city Friday in their biggest turnout yet for a month-long wave of protests.


Myanmar police let about 500 protesting Buddhist monks through a roadblock to march past the home where opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is under house arrest, and the Nobel laureate came to her gate to greet them looking "fit and well," witnesses said.

The unexpected visit briefly joined Myanmar's best-known advocate of democratic reform with the highly respected monks whose five straight days of protests this month have jolted the country's military junta. It was not immediately clear if there was any broader significance to the visit, but coordination between the two movements, which have been operating separately, could pose a new threat to the regime.

Thousands of monks held anti-government protest marches around Myanmar's largest city, Yangon, where the Nobel Peace Prize winner is under house arrest. Thousands more monks and other citizens marched in other cities in the tightly controlled country.

The monks stopped briefly in front of Suu Kyi's house and said some prayers before they leaving at the other end of the road, said a resident, who asked not to be named for fear of being harassed by the authorities.

The road was closed again after the monks passed. Suu Kyi has been in detention for more than 11 of the past 18 years.

A monks' organization for the first time urged the public to join in protesting "evil military despotism" in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

"In order to banish the common enemy evil regime from Burmese soil forever, united masses of people need to join hands with the united clergy forces," the All Burma Monks Alliance said in a statement received Saturday by The Associated Press.

"We pronounce the evil military despotism, which is impoverishing and pauperizing our people of all walks including the clergy, as the common enemy of all our citizens," the statement said.

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