August 22, 2007

As democracy activists protest in Burma despite the arrest of many of their leaders last night, a solidarity protest will be held in front of the Burmese Embassy in London. The protest will take place at 12 noon – 1pm at the Burmese Embassy, 19a Charles Street, Mayfair, London. Nearest tube Green Park.

The protests in Rangoon today were sparked by increases in fuel prices last week of up to 500 percent. Last night the regime launched midnight raids at the homes of leading democracy activists. The regime has released the names of some of those arrested. They include;

Min Ko Naing
Ko Ko Gyi
Pyone Cho
Min Ze Ya
Mya Aye
Kyaw Kyaw Htwe
Ant Bwe Kyaw
Pannate Htun
Zaw Zaw Min
Thet Zaw
Nyan Linn Htun

At least three demonstrations are taking place in Rangoon today. That the protests have gone ahead despite the arrests last night demonstrates the level of anger against the regime. One of the protests was broken up by members of pro-junta mob, the, and and unknown number of people were arrested.

“The regime made these pre-emptive arrests in an attempt to intimidate people to try to prevent these demonstrations,” said Myo Thein, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK, and former political prisoner. “Those protesting in Rangoon are showing bravery and determination and need international support. Governments and the United Nations must support their right to peaceful protest, and insist on the immediate release of all political prisoners.”

The arrests come just weeks before the UN envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, is due to visit Burma. He is expected to report back to the Security Council on his return from the county.

“The Security Council must start setting deadlines for reform in Burma,” said Myo Thein. “For too many years the international community has fallen for the regime’s delaying tactics, but these arrests show regime’s promises of reform are all lies.”

The most prominent of those arrested, Min Ko Naing, has won numerous international awards for his peaceful, non-violent calls for democracy in Burma including the Civil Courage Prize from the Northcote Parkinson Fund in the United States, the Homo Homini Award from People in Need in the Czech Republic, the John Humphrey Freedom Award from the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development in Canada, and the Student Peace Prize, widely considered the “junior” Nobel Peace Prize in Norway.

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