Burmese monks have taken to the streets in huge numbers across the country this week. It’s been reported that over 5000 at a time have staged peaceful protest marches across Burma’s biggest cities. Over 1000 monks have taken to the streets in Bago, a city i visited last year and met a number of monks at the local monestry. It’s been reported that a number of them have been carrying their black bowls upside down as a sign of their protest to not accept anything from the state.
Initially i was overjoyed to hear about this. They are protesting against the military junta government’s refusal to apologise for raising the tax on fuel and subsequently for breaking up a peaceful protest staged by students and pro-democracy activists last week. This comes just days after they announced that NLD spokeswoman Aung San Suu Kyi will remain under house arrest for another year.
I hope that this doesn’t end in a bad way for the monks. They are revered in Burma and therefore hold a great deal of weight with the general public. The fact that they are taking to the streets shows just how drastic the situation has become, and how the rest of the world needs to stand up and take notice of the unspeakable abuses of human rights which occur in the country on a daily basis. I hope that the government don’t come down too harshly on them, although i fear that if they do that the country will rise up against the government and civil war will break out. The consequences of which may be beneficial for the country, but the process will most certainly end in huge loss of life.