Protests led by thousands of Buddhist monks [AFP]
With a death toll as high as 200 and thousands arrested, the largest waves of anti-government protests in Myanmar are over, at least for now. But the issues remain unresolved.

The trigger for the violent upheaval came after the ruling military government obeyed the recommendations of the IMF and World Bank to lift fuel subsidies in August. As the price of petrol and diesel skyrocketed, students and activists took to the streets. By last month, the protests were led by thousands of Buddhist monks, and they continued peacefully for about a week. But then the military cracked down, and now dissident groups say that up to 200 protesters were killed and 6,000 arrested. In contrast, the government reports a death toll of about 13.

Independent verification is, of course, impossible in such a tightly controlled nation.

The United Nations deployed a special envoy to broker an end to the crackdown on the pro-democracy protesters, and he was able to meet twice with Aung San Suu Kyi, the detained Nobel Peace Prize winner. The U-N diplomat, Ibrahim Gambari, also met with the government's leaders, in an attempt to persuade them to take the people's demand for democracy seriously.

On Tuesday Riz talks with Ashin Nayaka, a visiting scholar from Myanmar at the Department of History at Columbia University, and Maureen Aung-Thwin, the director of the Burma Project of the Open Society Institute, which is part of the Soros Foundations Network.

Watch this episode of Riz Khan here:

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You can watch Riz at 1900GMT, with repeats at 0000GMT, 0500GMT, and 0930GMT.

 This episode aired on Tuesday 02nd October 2007.


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