UK should take to streets to oppose Myanmar violence: minister

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London, Nov 3 (UNI) UK's Foreign Office minister Meg Munn has called for peaceful protests in the country against the violent suppression of monks in Myanmar.

The minister said it was important to highlight the plight of people in disturbed Myanmar.

''We want to make sure this doesn't fall out of the news and people's consciousness," said Ms Munn, adding, ''Having got to this stage, we don't want to let this go away.'' Encouraging Britons to play an important role in the developments, she said, ''It is nearly 20 years since the last big demonstrations and this is an opportunity for things to change in Burma.'' She cited the silent vigil in her home city of Sheffield by ethnic Karen refugees from the Thai-Burma border region as the type of protest she would endorse.

Non-government organisations in the region have been raising the issue so that people do not forget about it. ''Information does get through and they are letting people in Myanmar know that the international community has not forgotten or ignored them,'' The Independent newspaper quoted Ms Munn as saying.

Monks were arrested, monasteries raided, and there were reports of brutality by the military forces in the crackdown on protests.

This week, about 100 monks protested in the Buddhist religious centre of Pakokku, where 100,000 took to the streets in September.

The minister said it was not unexpected that monks had taken to the streets again.

British ambassador Mark Canning had said the regime had not solved the underlying causes of the protests. Rise in diesel and petrol prices had triggered the protests.

Parliamentarians in the country had called for the prosecution of Burmese authorities in the International Criminal Court and for tougher sanctions to be imposed upon them.


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