10,000 monks march against Myanmar generals

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YANGON, Sep 24 (Reuters) At least 10,000 monks cheered on by thousands of onlookers began marching in Yangon today in what appeared to be growing into the biggest demonstrations yet against the ruling generals.

The maroon-robed monks began a sixth day of protests with prayers at the Shwedagon Pagoda, the former Burma's holiest shrine, then marched through the city.

Some carried placards demanding better living conditions in the impoverished Southeast Asian nation and calls for national reconciliation, witnesses said.

Burmese celebrities added their voice to calls for ordinary people to join the protests, which began as civilian anger at last month's shock fuel price rises but are now becoming a more deep-rooted religious movement against the generals.

Some of the biggest stars of stage, screen and music, including Tun Eindra Bo -- Myanmar's equivalent of Angelina Jolie -- have formed a ''Sangkha Support Committee'' and pledged to provide the monks with whatever assistance they need.

''The fact these celebrities are joining in is very significant,'' said one Myanmar exile who listened to them giving interviews on Burmese-language foreign radio stations.

''The committee said they will move on with the struggle until the end,'' the exile said.

REUTERS SZ AS1221

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