Myanmar opposition leader fears army crackdown

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PARIS, Sep 25 (Reuters) A Myanmar opposition leader predicted in an interview released today that pro-democracy protests in his country would turn violent, with the army firing on protesters.

Sein Win, who heads a self-proclaimed government-in-exile, told France's La Croix newspaper he wanted the international community to urge the Myanmar ruling generals not to issue orders to fire on the crowd.

''I predict that there will be further violent confrontations, unless one of the two parties pulls back, which seems unlikely, because what can people do in a situation where nobody has the right to speak or express their anger?'' he said.

''Monks, students, artists are in the streets, everybody is protesting and only the military are staying faithful to the junta leaders. It's clear the army will fire on the crowd in the end.'' The Myanmar junta poured troops and police armed with rifles into central Yangon today in an attempt to end the biggest demonstrations against military rule in nearly 20 years.

The newspaper said Win, described as prime minister of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma which has been in exile since December 1990, was due to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

He said he would ask Sarkozy to tell the military ''not to use force and most importantly to call an extra session of the United Nations Security Council to vote severe new resolutions'' against the country.

He said he would also ask for financial support for the opposition within the country which ''needs moral and financial support in order to carry on with its actions.'' REUTERS AE PM2314

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