Monks Protest Myanmar Military Rule

By: Gloria Riviera, ABC News
By: Gloria Riviera, ABC News

As world leaders gather at the United Nations in New York, thousands of Buddhist monks took to the streets again on Sept. 25 to protest military rule over Myanmar.

They were joined by civilians, despite direct threats from the military that it will crack down if the protests don't stop.

The only pictures to get out of the country are from above. But it is still possible to see civilians forming human barriers to protect this unlikely people's army.

According to reports, the streets of Myanmar are now being patrolled by the military. There is no footage of that. All journalists are barred.

But reports say army trucks are blaring warnings to break up the protests. Earlier on state run television, the religious affairs minister was shown telling senior monks they need to control their charges.

Reports are, that for the last week, underground monk unions have been calling for the public to join in their call for freedom.

Through what appears to be a well-organized effort, openly supported by the public, their defiance has re-energized the democracy movement.

But can it re-energize the international community?

"I urge the United Nations and all nations to help the Burmese people reclaim their freedom," President Bush said.

World leaders are calling for the military to exercise restraint. But it is China that has the most influence through what has been a growing economic and trade relationship with the government.

With the Olympics in 2008, some hope China will use its leverage to push for change.

President Bush says the U.S. will move to tighten sanctions on Myanmar military government and its financial backers, including visa bans, on those responsible for human rights violations.

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