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>> The Times of India


MYANMAR CRACKDOWN ATTRACTS WORLD ATTENTION

The Times of India - Septemebr 30, 2007 The violent crackdown in Myanmar sparked protest demonstrations in many capitals and amid mounting international anger even the junta's southeast Asian neighbours expressed their "revulsion". While the United States tightened economic sanctions, China, the closest ally of the generals running Myanmar, was also working to calm the deadly unrest in Yangon, China's premier was reported as telling his Japanese counterpart on Friday. Public outrage over the shooting of demonstrators in Yangon spilled over into clashes between Australian police and protesters outside the Myanmar Embassy in Canberra. There were also public demonstrations outside the Myanmar missions in London, Paris, Geneva, Rome and other major cities around the world. Hundreds of people who gathered outside the Myanmar Embassy in Rome included ministers from the centre-left government. "We must not be discouraged and throw in the sponge, we must do everything possible to defend the monks in Myanmar," said Emma Bonino, Italy's minister for European affairs and foreign trade. French socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal joined demonstrators in Paris. About 2,000 Myanmar people gathered outside their country's Embassy in Malaysia and Southeast Asian nations, which have traditionally held back from criticising the junta, are taking a stronger line. Ministers from the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), meeting at the UN headquarters in New York, "were appalled to receive reports of automatic weapons being used and demanded that the Myanmar government immediately desist from the use of violence against demonstrators," Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo said. The ministers "expressed their revulsion to Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win over reports that the demonstrations in Myanmar are being suppressed by violent force and that there has been a number of fatalities," he said. In Manila, Philippine President Gloria Arroyo called for the release of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners. The US administration ordered a freeze on the assets of Myanmar's military leader Than Shwe and 13 other senior officials. The US State Department has been adding Myanmar officials, regime supporters, and family members to a list of people barred from entering the United States, a White House spokesman said. US President George Bush also told Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi he hoped China would use its influence to help bring a peaceful transition to democracy in Myanmar. Bush urged "all nations that have influence" with Myanmar to throw their weight behind global efforts to end the crackdown. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said: "I can just assure you that the US is determined to keep an international focus on the travesty in Rangoon (Yangon)." EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner on Friday also appealed to China to put pressure on Myanmar's military regime, and Beijing has signalled its growing concern, calling for restraint by the military authorities in Yangon. China's Premier Wen Jiabao told Japan's new Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda that Beijing was making efforts to calm the situation, Japanese officials said. Photo: AP





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