(Yangon) Dozens of pro-democracy Buddhist monks took to the streets in Burma’s second largest city, Mandalay, on Saturday to protest against the military coup marking the 14th anniversary of the “Saffron Revolution”.
Posted on Sep 25, 2021 at 8:14 am
Burma has been in turmoil since the military overthrew the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February, ending a ten-year democratic hiatus.
The generals carry out a bloody repression against the opponents. According to a local NGO, the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP), more than 1,100 civilians were killed and 8,400 detained.
Historically, in a predominantly Buddhist Burma, monks are viewed as a higher moral authority organizing communities and sometimes fighting against military regimes.
But this year’s coup sparked a split within the monastic community, with some prominent clerics blessing generals while others supported protesters.
On Saturday, dozens of monks in their orange or red robes with flags and banners marched through Mandalay, the country’s religious capital.
“The monks who love the truth are on the side of the people,” an official told AFP.
The monks called for the release of political prisoners, including members of the Aung San Suu Kyi political party, which won a landslide victory in last November’s elections.
“We have to take risks” […] to protest, because we can be arrested or shot at any time. We are no longer safe in our monasteries, ”a 35-year-old monk told AFP.
In 2007, Buddhist monks led huge protests across the country against the previous military junta regime known as the “Saffron Revolution”.
The repression against them had been extremely brutal, with monks killed, missing and imprisoned.