Myanmar junta raids monasteries, hundreds arrested

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YANGON, Sep 27 (Reuters) Myanmar security forces raided several Buddhist monasteries today, arresting hundreds of the monks who have led the biggest protests against military rule in 20 years, witnesses said.

At least 200 monks were detained in pre-dawn raids on two monasteries in Yangon, the main city Yangon, a day after tens of thousands of protesters defied warning shots, tear gas and baton charges meant to quell the demonstrations.

Troops also swooped on at least two monasteries in northeastern Myanmar, where large anti-government protests have been held in the past week.

Up to 500 monks were arrested at the Mogaung monastery in Yankin Township and another 150 detained at the Ngwe Kyaryan monastery in South Okkalapa Township, witnesses said.

''Only two or three sick monks were left behind,'' a person who lives near the Ngwe Kyaryan monastery said.

REUTERS KK RK0803

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