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Myanmar fuel protests spread
Pro-democracy supporters reported to be holding protests outside Yangon.
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2007 10:42 GMT
Pro-democracy activists have staged a series of protests since the fuel price hike
Pro-democracy activists in Myanmar have staged further protests against government fuel price rises in a rare show of defiance against the ruling military.
 
Protests continued to spread beyond the main city of Yangon on Monday, with demonstrations in the towns of Bago and Mogok in the north of the country.
Up to 50 protesters wearing white marched through the streets of Bago shadowed by plain clothes police and government supporters from the feared Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), eyewitnesses said.

Members of the USDA broke up a series of protests last week in Yangon, beating many protesters with sticks.

 

Soaring prices

 

The protests were sparked after the government slashed fuel subsidies, causing prices of petrol, diesel and compressed natural gas to soar.

 

Myanmar fuel protests


Fuel protest timeline
Who's who

The rise has also caused food and transport prices to skyrocket.

 

USDA trucks were reported to be taking up positions near the offices of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) in Yangon, amid reports of protests elsewhere in the country.

 

The party is led by detained Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

 

Elsewhere in the city, riot police were said to be taking up positions as tensions remained high.

 

Activists arrested

 

In recent days police have arrested at least 65 activists, including several leaders of Myanmar's pro-democracy movement.

 

Htin Kyaw, one of the main protest organisers, was arrested on Sunday  as he and another man shouted anti-government slogans in the centre of Yangon.

 

Witnesses said both men were beaten as they were dragged away by men in civilian clothes.

 

Most of those arrested are now reportedly being held in Yangon's notorious Insein jail.

 

The jail has long been condemned by human rights groups as a centre of torture and abuse.

 

'Very tense'

 

"The situation looks very tense," one NLD member told Reuters on Monday.

 

"Some USDA thugs are believed to have weapons hidden in their bags or in the trucks. They are watching out for the movement of the NLD members."

 

Elsewhere in Myanmar, news also emerged of a fuel protest in Mogok, about 680 kilometres north of Yangon, in an area famous for gemstone mining.

 

Mogok residents said more than 200 people, including members of the NLD marched through the town on Saturday before dispersing peacefully.

Source:
Agencies
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