Instead of marching throughout Burma’s capital of Rangoon, the Buddhist monks marched while praying and chanting throughout the streets of Pakkoku located in the northern part of the country. Pakkoku is the site of an incident that happened which was the catalyst for the pro-democracy demonstrations throughout the country. Still, the Burmese government claims that ten people have died while the international community believes the toll is much more than just ten.
Pakkoku is located three-hundred and ninety miles northwest of Rangoon. The city itself is a center point of Buddhist education throughout the country. It is reported that the Buddhist monks were beat up by the soldiers in Pakkoku on September 16. That incident merely fueled the fire over the protests on August 19 about the increasing fuel prices. At the march, the monks rallied to defy the junta while not saying anything political.
As a result of the crackdown, it’s illegal for the monks to gather publicly anywhere in Burma. Many Buddhist monasteries and temples remain deserted as a result of the ban. There are thousands of Buddhist monks living in Burma.
United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari is set to return to Burma during the weekend to talk with the military government. He had been talking to the Asian nations to put more pressure on the generals of Burma’s military regime.
One monk stated to Democratic Voice of Burma stationed in Norway: “We are continuing the protest from last month as we have not yet achieved any of the demands we asked for.”
He further adds: “Our demands are for lower commodity prices, national reconciliation and immediate release of [pro-democracy leader] Aung San Suu Kyi and all the political prisoners.”
Director of the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma stated: “This is very significant… we are very encouraged to see the monks are taking up action and taking up peaceful demonstrations in Burma.”
On a separate account, the Human Rights Watch organization accuses the army of recruiting children by force to compensate for the lack of adults. The government had denied the accusations and claims that they are opposed to child soldiers.