President Bush has weighed in on the massive protests in Burma (Myanmar), saying he will boost sanctions against the country’s abusive military government. Meanwhile, thousands of Buddhist monks have defied government warnings and continue to demonstrate.
The military junta in control of the country responded by announcing a two-month-long dusk-to-dawn curfew and repositioning armed soldiers.
President Bush announced today that he planned to tighten sanctions against the military government in Myanmar and slap a visa ban on “those responsible for egregious human rights violations.”
In a speech at the United Nations, Bush focused on human rights, outlining new U.S. efforts to force the military rulers to accede to the demands of the democracy movement in the Southeast Asian nation once known as Burma.
Regional perspective from the Bangkok Post:
The demonstration, exceeding 50,000 monks and laymen, was in open defiance of a government order to end their daily marches that started a week ago Tuesday, and escalated Monday with up to 100,000 marchers in Rangoon and other cities.
On Monday night, Brigadier-General Thura Myint Maung, the minister of religion, issued a televised warning to all monks to obey Buddhist rules that prohibit the clergy from engaging in political activities.
Trucks with loudspeakers prowled Rangoon’s downtown area Tuesday morning warning that anyone caught watching the marchers will be liable to three years in jail and anyone who participates in the marches faces 10 years imprisonment.
Burma’s military leaders have imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the main cities Rangoon and Mandalay, which have seen escalating anti-government protests.
Armed troops have now been deployed after tens of thousands of Buddhist monks and civilians again defied the army’s warning to stay off the streets.
World leaders at the UN General Assembly have condemned the situation.