UPDATE (Burma): Riot police shoot, beat, gas protestors in Rangoon; rallies continue


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-126-2007
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention, Freedom of expression, Judicial system, Poverty & adequate standard of living, Rule of law, Torture,

Dear friends,

As has been reported throughout the world, riot police began violently attacking protestors in Rangoon today after they refused to obey instructions to not again take to the streets to call for an end to military rule there (UP-125-2007). Meanwhile, protests have also continued in other parts of the country.

Here we give a summary of information available on events today. Please note that as many phone lines to Burma are down or are not operating well at this time communication is more difficult than in recent days. 

The government ordered a 60-day 9pm to 5am curfew on Rangoon and Mandalay, and a prohibition on assemblies of more than five persons; however some reports indicate that the curfew is today being changed to 6pm to 6am.

Despite signs of an imminent crackdown, an estimated 10,000 protestors, among them 500 monks and some nuns, marched to Shwedagon Pagoda again around 11am. They were met by over 200 riot police stationed at the base of the pagoda. They fired teargas canisters and weapons and assaulted the protestors with truncheons, while yelling obscenities. Some had their heads split open from the assaults.

Some reports indicate that members of the government-organised Swan-arshin gangs were also among the attackers (see AS-173-2007; also: The anatomy of thuggery [UPI Asia Online]).

However, protestors assembled and sat on the ground together around the Sule Pagoda at the city centre, chanting slogans like, “The people’s armed forces are our armed forces” and “The people’s army must not kill the people”. Around 3pm riot police again assaulted protestors and fired tear gas there.

Photographs from the scene also clearly show troops of the Rangoon Central Command on the streets.

Unknown numbers, possibly hundreds, of monks and ordinary citizens have been taken away in trucks. Some were seen to be seriously assaulted and there are fears for their lives.

According to Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) radio, a member of the quasi-government Union Solidarity and Development Association called and said that its members had been placed among the protestors to provoke violence.

DVB has also reported that at least three monks have been killed. But there are no details yet.

The comedian Zarganar, who led actors and prominent artists to join the protests in the last two days, was reportedly arrested last night.


Over ten thousand also marched in Mandalay, starting from the Dhammikarama and Taung-htilin monasteries, through the city. Although they were not met with violence as in Rangoon, there were army roadblocks in places with armed troops, including at the historic Phayagyi Pagoda. Some monasteries also reportedly had armed soldiers outside. One witness, however, said that people in the city did not look afraid and were prepared to overcome whatever lay ahead.

Protests have also been reported in Sittwe, Arakan State, western Burma, and Pakokku, where government forces attacked monks on September 5, provoking the marches (UP-119-2007).

Arrests are also reported in other places, including of human rights lawyer U Aye Myint (see AHRC-PL-038-2007; UP-139-2006). DVB estimated that at least 250 persons and monks are now in custody from the latest events.

See latest citizens’ photos of the protests at Saffron Revolution.

For further details please look at earlier and other reports on the AHRC webpage: http://campaigns.ahrchk.net/burmaprotests/

Please refer back to our previous appeal for actions that you can take.

Please also sign these online petitions supporting the protestors:

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrchk.org)