Police prevent Myanmar democracy protest

Yangon – Police in military-dominated Myanmar on Monday prevented a rare protest by pro-democracy activists on the fourth anniversary of a bloody crackdown on a monk-led uprising, an official said.About 200 people had planned to march to Yangon City Hall, but agreed to call off the rally when asked by the authorities to do so, according to witnesses.

“After police asked them to stop, they prayed on the spot and then dispersed,” according to a government official who did not want to be named.

Police said no arrests were made.

“We came here to pray for the release of political prisoners and to mark the fourth anniversary of the Saffron Revolution, but a police officer asked us not to go anywhere so that’s why we have to go home,” one of the activists said.

Security was tight on the anniversary of the crackdown on the 2007 protests, which began as small rallies against the rising cost of living but escalated into huge anti-government demonstrations known as the “Saffron Revolution”.

At least 31 people were killed by security forces while hundreds were beaten and detained in the crackdown that ensued.

Myanmar is now ruled by a nominally civilian government but its ranks are filled with former generals and the country still has more than 2 000 political prisoners.

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