September 24, 2007 / 9:46 AM / 10 years ago

CHRONOLOGY-A month of mushrooming protests in Myanmar

(For related story see MYANMAR/ or click on [ID:nSP153502])

Sept 24 (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of people joined streams of monks on marches through Yangon on Monday in the biggest demonstration against Myanmar’s ruling generals since they crushed student-led protests in 1988.

Here are some key dates over the last month:

Aug. 15: Without warning, diesel prices are doubled and the cost of compressed natural gas rises five-fold. Bus networks in Yangon grind to a temporary halt.

Aug. 23 - Thirteen prominent dissidents are arrested for organising protests against the fuel price rises. They face up to 20 years in jail.

Aug. 28: After two weeks of sporadic marches, mostly by social activists and the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), Buddhist monks join in for the first time, leading a march in the northwest city of Sittwe.

Sept. 5: Soldiers fire warning shots to halt 500 marching monks in Pakokku, 370 miles (600 km) northwest of Yangon.

Sept. 6: Several hundred angry Pakokku monks hold government officials hostage for more than four hours and torch their cars.

Sept. 11: Monks threaten to shun the military unless the junta apologises for assaulting monks in Pakokku.

Sept. 16: Two monks in Sittwe are arrested, the first to members of the priesthood to be detained.

Sept. 17: Myanmar-language foreign radio stations broadcast reports that an alliance of monks will refuse to accept alms from the ruling generals, their families and associates -- a very serious threat in the devoutly Buddhist country.

Sept. 18: Authorities fire tear gas to break up a protest of about 1,000 monks and civilians in Sittwe.

Sept. 19: Nearly 1,000 monks stage a sit-in outside government offices.

Sept. 20: After being barred for three days, 500 monks are allowed into Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar’s holiest shrine, to pray. Armed police throw up barbed wire barricades near Yangon university, a focus of the 1988 uprisings.

Sept. 21: Some 600 monks march through Yangon, meeting no opposition from watching plainclothes policemen.

Sept. 22: Monks are let through the barbed-wire barricades outside the home of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi. The Nobel peace laureate appears in a doorway and prays with the monks for 15 minutes.

It is the first time she has been seen in public since May 2003.

Sept. 23: Buddhist nuns join monk protests at the Shwedagon for the first time.

Sept. 24: Tens of thousands of people join streams of monks on marches through central Yangon. It is the biggest demonstration against the junta since the generals crushed the 1988 uprising at an estimated cost of 3,000 lives.

Source: Reuters

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