Thailand to face refugee influx, crackdown 'fears'in Myanmar

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Bangkok, Sep 22 (UNI) Amidst fears of crackdown in Myanmar by the military junta on pro-democracy protestors there are apprehensions of an influx of large number of political refugees in to neighbouring Thailand.

The English language Myanmarese publication 'The Irrawady' run by dissidents from the country living in self-exile in north Thailand, was told by sources in Yangon that authorities there were preparing for physical repression following days of street protests.

In its main editorial 'Overcoming the dictators', Bangkok's English language daily 'The Nation' today said Thailand should be ready to home refugees from Myanmar.

Successive days of rare public demonstrations in the former capital Yangon against sharp fuel price hikes have been followed by hundreds of Buddhist clergy taking to the streets.

Large number of soldiers have been deployed across Yangon in recent days, 'The Irrawady' has learnt.

''A local resident and witness in Rangoon told The Irrawaddy on Friday that he saw several soldiers in full military uniform, carrying guns, and taking up positions in some areas of Sanchaung Township during the day,'' Irrawady reported.

A person who was being treated in a Yangon hospital was quoted as saying that all patients were asked to vacate the hospital.

''A violent crackdown by regime authorities and hired thugs remains a distinct possibility as the regime blind to the lessons of the past, knows it can, with impunity, resort again to force in stamping out the democratic aspirations of the oppressed Burmese people and the main reason for its confidence can be summed up in one word China,'' The Irrawady said in the editorial.

The news magazine has also criticised the alleged role India and China were playing in aiding the military junta in the troubled South East Asian country but falls short of substantiating its charges.

Myanmar's military rulers have told the international media that they will not impose a state of emergency to handle the crisis, though close Myanmar watchers are not convinced.


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