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Prayers needed in Burma

October 2, 2007

Monks vanish as Burmese troops step up presence from the Independent

By Rosalind Russell in Rangoon
Published: 02 October 2007

The gates were open at Rangoon’s glittering Shwedagon temple yesterday but soldiers, not monks, wandered its marble-floored shrines and pavilions.

Five days after Burma’s military leaders began a crackdown on protesting monks and their civilian supporters, the red-robed Buddhist clergy, normally seen in their thousands around the city, have vanished. And the UN’s special envoy sent to confront the military junta was stalled for yet another day.

“The monks are gone. We are worried about them. We don’t know where they are,” said a young guide at the temple. Usually hundreds of monks would be milling around the golden, bell-shaped, stupa – praying, chatting quietly in groups or explaining the significance of gem-encrusted statues or shrines to visitors.

Soldiers with rifles have taken their place, their bare feet the only mark of respect to Burma’s most sacred Buddhist site. There are few visitors, and stall-holders selling paper flowers and incense sticks for offerings have little trade.

“It is strange now,” said the guide, out of the earshot of soldiers. “We don’t think the army should be at the temple. We think the monks have been taken away. We think they are in jail.”

A senior monk told The Independent at the weekend he believed 3,000 monks had been detained by Burmese security forces, and were being held in police and military camps.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. sallysjourney permalink
    October 2, 2007 2:19 pm

    Prayers for sure!!!

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