Army barricades lifted around key Myanmar temple

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YANGON, Oct 1 (Reuters) Barbed wire barricades blocking off the Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar's holiest Buddhist temple and the rallying point for last week's monk-led protests against military rule, were removed today, witnesses said.

However, soldiers were stationed at the four entrances to the glittering shrine where a week ago riot police and troops fired tear gas and launched baton charges at columns of monks trying to march to Yangon's city centre.

Monks say at least five of their brethren were killed in clashes with security forces during the biggest anti-government protests in army-ruled Myanmar since a 1988 uprising, when the army is believed to have killed 3,000 people.

State television and media said on Friday that 10 civilians had been killed when troops cleared the streets. Order had been restored, the media said, and the protests had been handled ''with care, using the least possible force''.

Soldiers and police remain at many street corners and key locations in the city of five million, making it impossible for crowds of demonstrators to gather, witnesses said.

Reuters SYU DB1102

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