Myanmar: Crackdown on monks likely as election nears

The ruling military junta in Myanmar is planning a crackdown on an estimated 400,000 Buddhist monks in the country to "discipline" them ahead of forthcoming elections, a report in The Independent said on Feb 22.

Already Monks are not eligible to vote in the election; they may be prevented from getting involved in anything considered ‘political’ by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), which rules the country and has planned for elections later this year.

From available indications it is clear that the vote is going to be deeply flawed. The Junta has no plans to allow Aung San Suu Kyi, who has emerged as the symbol of Burmese democratic aspirations, to join the elections. She remains under house arrest.

Media reports quote analysts as saying that the Junta is nervous about a potential challenge from the monks, who in September 2007 led major demonstrations that has come to be known as Saffron Uprising after a clergy member, was beaten up at Pakokku township.


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