Burma’s Junta Under Growing Pressure as Crackdown Intensifies

Burma’s Junta Under Growing Pressure as Crackdown Intensifies

CHIANG MAI, Thailand -- As the third day of a military crackdown on protestors begins in Burma, the mass movement is at a critical juncture. Following the arrests of hundreds of monks in the past two days, the demonstrations that had reached a peek participation of around 100,000 earlier in the week have simmered down, though tens of thousands are still marching. Meanwhile, reports on the ground indicate Burmese military forces are massing in Yangon and the administrative capital at Naypyidaw.

Government crackdowns against protesters escalated early Thursday when large-scale pre-dawn raids on Buddhist monasteries throughout Yangon were carried out by authorities. Monks were reportedly beaten and driven off in military trucks, according to sources on the ground. Images leaked from within the monasteries show blood-stained floors and overturned rooms.

The latest in a series of military dictatorships that have ruled the nation with an iron fist since 1962, Myanmar's self appointed State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) seized control in 1988. On May 27, 1990, the regime annulled national election results that saw the National League for Democracy, led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, win more than 80 percent of the vote. Having survived several attempts on her life, Aung San Suu Kyi has been confined to house arrest for 12 of the past 18 years.

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