Protesters return to Yangon streets

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YANGON, Sep 27 (Reuters) Protesters today returned to the streets of central Yangon despite several reported deaths a day earlier as Myanmar's junta tried to end the biggest demonstrations against military rule in nearly 20 years.

Two monks sat cross-legged in the middle of the street leading to the Sule Pagoda -- the end point of mass protests this week and now locked -- chanting prayers. Several hundred people recited along with them, witnesses said.

Police, who prepared barbed-wire barricades to seal off major junctions in the centre of the country's biggest city, watched from behind their shields, batons at the ready.

Soldiers were also in the area, where Buddhist monks leading the protests against 45 years of military rule say five of their colleagues were killed yesterday. State-run newspapers said one person was killed.

Witnesses said the crowd of protesters was growing steadily, some of them pumping their fists in the air and shouting anti-military slogans.

REUTERS ARB SSC1215

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