Saturday, October 27, 2007

Burma: Burmese riot police take up positions at holy sites

Burmese riot police have taken up positions at holy sites in Rangoon to prevent Buddhist monks from repeating last month's widespread protests against the military government.

Heavily armed forces guarded the Shwedagon and Sule pagodas on an important Buddhist holiday Friday, when monks end a period of monastic retreat.

Also Friday, the party of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi said the government has released at least 70 more people detained in the military's violent crackdown on protesters.

The National League for Democracy said 50 party members were among those released from Insein prison in Rangoon on Thursday

Earlier Friday, United Nations envoy to Burma Ibrahim Gambari said he hopes the meeting between Aung San Suu Kyi and a newly appointed government official will lead to the resumption of dialogue between the two sides.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for 12 of the last 18 years, met Thursday for one hour with Burma's labor minister, Aung Kyi.

Burma's state media showed pictures of the meeting, but released no specific details.

Gambari has said he hopes to meet again with Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma's top military leader, General Than Shwe, during his visit to Burma in early November.