Page last updated at 21:29 GMT, Saturday, 29 September 2007 22:29 UK

Accounts from inside Burma

Armed forces blocking access to the Shwedagon Pagoda

Burmese people are continuing their protests in Rangoon, despite the use of force by the Burmese security forces.

People inside Burma have been e-mailing the BBC News website and talking to the BBC Burmese Service about the growing unrest.


The military junta made assemble in Myitkyina on Saturday morning. They said that anyone from each house must attend in the assemble. That's why everyone have to go there. Otherwise nobody want to go in assemble. If not they will put in the jail and they killed the leader of the monks from Myitkyina on Thursday night. Mi, Myitkyina, Myanmar


I left Burma today. I have travelled around the country for the past month. I witnessed and took part in protests in both Mandalay and Rangoon. I have been walking with the protesters every day this week in Rangoon. I was reluctant to leave, many people have told me that they would like more foreigners to be there with them to support them. After the monasteries clampdown there were armed security forces at every gate of every monastery, but still the people bravely went out on the streets to protest. The Sule Pagoda was like a military camp. There were boxes of ammunition everywhere. For the last several days I've given out flowers to soldiers telling them not to shoot. I don't think those soldiers want to do what they are doing. When I asked them whether they really want to kill people, they shook their heads in silent denial. There were fewer people protesting, this is because the army as well as firing into the crowd, are taking photos of the protesters. This scares them more than the bullets, because they know the repercussions. People are so desperate, they want international armed forces to go there. They feel helpless and heartbroken. Karen, Thailand

Around 14:00 GMT I got in touch with a local Burmese. He told me that the internet is back, but only limited sites are available. YouTube and blogs are blocked. So are the proxy-websites. We messaged each other in a google chat for about 20 minutes, before he got abruptly disconnected. I was trying to get him to install a proxy software. This is what he said: "I am risking a lot by talking to you, there are spies among us sent by the military. There is nobody on the streets now. The place is like a graveyard, only dogs could be heard barking. The last time I heard shooting was yesterday around 15:00." Ralph, Vienna, Austria

It seems that the military has shown its power. The protests have been wiped out easily. The momentum and the determination of the people is winding down. The soldiers show no mercy against the people. Some people have seen soldiers walking into pagodas without taking their boots off. Obviously, they have no religion. They worship the military and their gods are the generals. The soldiers don't know what they are doing. I saw a man praying as the soldiers were beating him. This broke my heart. We need a leader. Where was our leader during this revolution? The monks were leading but now they are in the hands of the military. There's nobody to organise protests now. There are small crowds now swearing at the troops and causing violence. This is preposterous. Bush has tighten the sanctions on us, but it does not help us. Do you think the generals care? The sanctions can only hurt the economy and create more poverty. The UN needs to act directly through negotiations and pressure. The Chinese need to be more thoughtful. If they don't do anything they are risking the lives of millions of people. Samson, Rangoon

I just received a call from a friend in Rangoon. He says the army have been using loudspeakers to pass on the message that if anyone is seen running into a house for sanctuary, they are going to demolish the building. They are also warning people not to look out of their windows. Neil, UK


I am in regular contact with my family and friends in Burma. There is a humanitarian crisis happening there at the moment. Because of the demonstrations, the street vendors and stalls selling vegetables and cooked food are no longer to be found on the streets of Rangoon. People are scared to go out to buy food. Most don't have proper cooking facilities and rely of cheap food sold on the streets. The mains water is foul and undrinkable and everyone relies on five gallon purified water bottles. They are not being delivered at the moment. The curfew is hurting the Muslim population quite badly. During Ramadan, the myriad street restaurants are thronged in the evening and early in the morning when large extended families would be eating together. Now they have to cope in their in home with whatever facilities are available. The increased fuel costs have almost doubled the cost of all essentials. John, UK

Police are everywhere in Yangon (Rangoon). They are arresting demonstrators on the streets, searching houses and arresting innocent people. They don't want the UN envoy to see the truth of the demonstrations in Burma. The foreign media is not getting the number of deaths right, I am sure that there are many more killed than the BBC is reporting. Shan, Rangoon

People seem to be determined to continue, despite the bullets, beatings and killings. I hear right now that shooting is still going on near our office. What we need from the international community is not just discussion on sanction or verbal pressure. Defenceless citizens are risking their lives simply to make their voice heard to live in a country free of oppression and extreme poverty, which they have been enduring for the past 19 years. Now is the time for the international community to take action. Anonymous international resident, Rangoon

A group of more than 50 soldiers and riot police just passed in front of our office. They are planning something but I do not know what. About 14:00 I saw a group of protesters - about 30 people - being arrested and prepared to be taken somewhere else by soldiers with green scarfs. They were also forced to squat with their hands behind their heads like prisoners. Teargas was used but I heard no gun shots. One of my colleague just told me that there is a large group of protesters in another part of town. He said that they were swearing at the riot police. The internet is down since last night. People are saying that the government did this to prevent Burmese people sending information to foreign media about what's going on in the country. Only a handful of people, including me, have access to the internet as embassies and big companies have their own satelite links for the internet. Myat, Rangoon

Now all the internet connections and phone lines are cut. The government worries that we will send evidence of their terrible acts to the outside world. Our people are sad and angry with this government. We are all suffering from their terrible rule. But we don't have the capacity to do anything against them. If we do something, we will be killed and our families will suffer. We don't have any choice, because we are born in Myanmar (Burma). We know it will be over one day. We only wish this day will come soon.B L, Rangoon

Because of the security situation, oficially now non-essential staff are no longer required to come to the office. I will be leaving the office at 11:00 and I'll be staying at home until things get better. The UN special envoy Gambari will leave New York for for Yangon (Rangoon) tomorrow to negotiate with the government. I hope they can work things out though there's a slim chance they will. Anonymous Rangoon resident


It is 14:30 now and the riot police and army are trying to disperse the crowds on the street. At about 12:30 the whole street was filled with demonstrators. Then the soldiers started to shoot and use tear gas and then they charged with batons and took away some of the protesters. I heard that one person was killed. The crowds were yelling at the soldiers "your task is not to kill us citizens". At about 14:00 about the soldiers advanced towards the road in front of our office shouting through a loudspeaker at the crowds to disperse. The demonstrators went away, probably to another part of the town. There were only about 12 monks leading them. Similar things are happening in other parts of the town where there are protests. There are soldiers in almost all strategic parts of the town trying to disperse the crowd. There is a little restraint still as they give warnings before doing anything and the people have some time to disperse. I hope that things will get better without more bloodshed. Anonymous Rangoon resident

They're beating the crowd in front of Traders Hotel. Around 2,000 were taking part in a peaceful demonstration. There were also monks and people sat down to pay respect. They started the beating as the people sat down to bow. Tear gas were used again. Someone saw 20 trucks full of soldiers heading towards downtown. The junta has begun a full scale war against innocent civilians. Sai, Rangoon

There are many deaths on the streets of Rangoon. There were many deaths by gun-shots but the military is taking away the bodies so that they can hide their inhumane violence on civilians. Now even spectators on the streets, who are not involved in the protests are being shot at. Wai, Rangoon

I live near the Ngwe Kyar Yan monastery in south Okkalapa. They came to the monastery last night. Only 20 monks escaped out of 200. One monk from this monastery passed away at the demonstration yesterday. The soldiers came at the middle of the night and beat up the monks. The head monk and the other 19 escaped. They beat the monks and loaded them onto a truck like animals. We could hear gunshots, screams and shouting. Soldiers shouted that they are not just going to shoot in the air, but also on people. Anonymous eyewitness, Rangoon

Students protesting in Rangoon on 26 September
A photo of protesting students sent by a reader

From the BBC Burmese Service:

(At a monastery at midnight) The soldiers ran up to the first floor of the monastery and grabbed the head monk by the neck and dragged him downstairs. They beat up the other monks with batons and sticks. They kicked the sleeping novices to wake them up and ask them if any monks are hiding. The novices are shaking with fear. It is as if they are raiding a rebel camp. Anonymous eyewitness, Rangoon

It's heartbreaking to witness what is happening now. The military have used some force but not at their full potential. They want to scare the people by using force and if protesters don't back down they will step up their actions. It is very important that we do not back down. Once the protests fizzle out, the government will have its chance and all will be put in jail. The state media blames the people for using violence. Well, we just threw stones at them for beating the monks. It's hard to believe that Buddhist solddiers would attack Buddhist monks. The people are angry and sacred, but hopeful. The future of Myanmar (Burma) depends on China. I would like China to restate it's policy of not interfering with internal affairs of other countries. We are in a difficult position. We either go to democracy or back to military dictatorship. Samson, Rangoon

From the BBC Burmese Service: (At around 14:00 local time when soldiers started shooting into the crowd) They have shot several times into the crowd, one person was injured, they used tear gas. Now the injured person is being carried into a car to be taken to hospital. They (the soldiers) are using force on us. Anonymous eyewitness, Rangoon


There are a lot of people in the emergency ward in the hospital and people are dying there. One witness told me that there were three monks that were brought in by a taxi driver and one of the monks died at the table - the other two are in a critical condition. A lot of other people are severely injured. Thian, Rangoon

At about 10 o'clock the riot police blocked the road, but the monks pushed through the blockade and climbed the Shwedagon pagoda from the eastern side. After eating there, they came down from the pagoda about noon, in a line. At that point they were rounded up and charged with batons by the police. The monks responded merely by reciting prayers. People fled from the scene and it was mainly women who were targeted and beaten. The mob was dispersed and some people were arrested. Near the eastern stairway, tear gas was used to disperse the crowd. The monks - together with monks from Thingangyun - are said to march towards downtown. About thirty monks were badly hurt and hospitalised. Anonymous eyewitness, Rangoon

Buddhist monks protesting in Burma

I just talked to my sister, who lives in Rangoon. She knows someone at the local hospital in Rangoon. They have been treating three monks, who were taken to the hospital by responsible taxi drivers. The monks had been beaten up with the back of rifles. One monk had a deep wound exposing his brain, and he has already died. The other two are being treated under intensive care. Many more people died today, but there is no information about it. Many taxi drivers who are at the site of the violence take injured monks to nearest hospitals. The junta are using dirty tactics - they don't fire guns, but beat people with the back of their rifles. The monks defiantly did not fight back, endured the pain and died. Anonymous Burmese woman

At 13:00 a silent and orderly line of several thousand monks has passed at the bottom of the street where my office is located. Not a sound from them, a calm and determined march. Traffic blocks up, buses and taxis open their doors, people stream out and go towards the marchers at an unusually quick pace. People just leave their cars at the side of the road. At the same time, while the sun is burning down, there are huge dark-grey clouds in the sky and loud thunder cracks over their heads. Win, Rangoon

From the BBC Burmese Service: When monks and people reached the mid-level platform of the Shwedagon Pagoda around 12:20 PM, they closed the doors behind and riot police started to chase them and beat them up. Then about 200 were hauled off onto the trucks and driven away. About 80 monks were taken away. Anonymous eyewitness, Rangoon

Police were beating monks and nuns in Shwedagon Pagoda this morning and then putting them onto trucks. There were two prison vans and two fire engines. More army and police forces are in Kandawgyi park near Shwedagon Pagoda. Armed forces and plain-clothes police are to be seen in many other important places in Rangoon. People have been waiting at Sule Pagoda since early in the morning, and there are six army trucks near the City Hall, but I haven't seen any soldiers. The uniformed and plain-clothes police in front of the City Hall hold photos of monks leading the protests. We heard that over 50 monks and many students were arrested. Cherry, Rangoon

Now the military junta is reducing the internet connection bandwidth and we have to wait for a long time to see a page. Security forces block the route of demonstrations. Yesterday night, the junta announced to people in Rangoon and Mandalay not to leave their houses 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM. I think if the junta decides, they will cut off communication such as internet and telephone lines so that no information can be leaked to the outside world. David, Rangoon

Riot police and soldiers are beating monks and other protesters at the east gate of Shwedagon Pagoda. They are starting a crackdown by all means. Police forces are stationed at Sule Pagoda as well. Regardless of this, just after noon, about 1000 monks from a nearby monastery started a march to the Shwedagon Pagoda. Thila, Rangoon


At 11.30am, after a few moments of prayer at the Shwedagon Pagoda, the procession started. The number of marchers quickly swelled as other monks and groups joined having walked from different parts of the city. Many others formed a human chain on either side of them.Robert, Rangoon

This is a precious chance to let the world know about what's inside Burma. I haven't seen the protests yet. My family does not allow me to go out when the protests are in progress. Everything I know I've heard it from my relatives who live in the town centre. They have witnessed UN officials, students, foreigners, some Muslim, Chinese and Indian people taking part in the protest. I saw a truck full of police with guns, which looked like AK47. There also is an announcement in every township of Rangoon warning people not to get involved in protests. We are really motivated by the protests. I believe in the power of people. The military junta has been making us miserable for nearly two decades. Enough is enough. This really is the right time for the Burmese people to be united. But most people are still silent. We need good leadership and a good leader. Yi, Rangoon

Protesters in Rangoon on 24 September
Protesters have defied warnings from the military government

We don't know what will happen today, we are waiting to see how the situation develops. The junta announced that they will suppress the demonstrations whether by civilians or monks, anyone who disobeys their orders. We have suffered for a long time under the wicket junta. We are so afraid of them and cannot say what we think of feel. We respect our Buddhist monks very much. Our country has many natural resources but we are very poor. We are a disgrace in the whole world because of our rulers. But we hope for a golden future. We hope for the freedom of Aung San Su Kyi. Kyi, Rangoon

Today the city is quiet and people go to work as normal. There are lots of rumours, but for the time being everything is calm. People are anxious to see what's going to happen. According to the government's warnings, today could be a big day. China is key. The US have announced new sanctions, but this is nothing. Burmese people do not welcome them and do not care about them. They want help, not sanctions. If the US wants to make a change here, they should threaten that if China continues its support for the Burmese military, they won't take part in the Olympics. Everything else is a joke. Michel, Rangoon

From the BBC Burmese Service: The order (by the regime to people not to come out on the streets) is not justified. If it were a just order, we would be ready to abide by it. But we cannot accept any unjustified laws. We will resist it. Student protester, Rangoon

From the BBC Burmese Service: About 700 students are taking part in protests today. Some students are in the middle of exams at this time. But they have left their exam rooms and come out the streets to joining hands with the public and to fight for the country under the guidance of the monks. Student protester, Rangoon

This morning, government agents warned people by loudspeakers on the streets not to look, not to follow, not to encourage and not to participate in demonstrations. But a group of monks and ordinary people came out on the streets in the afternoon and headed towards the Sule Pagoda. A well-known poet gave a speech to the crowd and they continued their march. But I think that the participants are half the number they were yesterday. Some people are worried and they are thinking carefully about the crisis that may be created by a junta response. Cherry, Rangoon

I walked with the monks, nuns and students all the way from Shwedagon to Sule, then to the former Secretariat building, then walked pass Kandawgalay. Then we went to the Royal Lake and walked pass Aung San bronze statute. We started at 1 PM and finished at 5 PM at Shwedagon east gate. It was very moving. People went all the way and some were in tears. I wasn't worried that there might be a crackdown. Gradually I got some energy and was just not afraid to proceed. Win, Rangoon


I witnessed the big protests in Rangoon today. I am really sorry for our country and our people because we are under the control of the wicked junta. We haven't got arms, we wish for peace, a better future and democracy. We are hoping that the UN security council will put a pressure on the junta. Kyi Kyi, Rangoon

I saw more than 100,000 monks marching today. I'm not sure where the protests will lead to. This situation could get worse. We want some changes in Burma, but we want these changes leading to a better future. Sun, Rangoon

Onlookers holding hands as monks walk by

I saw about 40,000 to 50,000 people, including monks, nuns and ordinary people, marching along Prome road. That was at around 3:30pm. The protests will grow bigger day by day and I hope that they are not going to start killing people. We need help to save our people. Mr Tun, Rangoon

It is astounding to see such a great mass of people on both sides of the roads, some clapping and some crying, but all demonstrating their support for the monks and those chanting prayers. It's for sure that all these people showing their support are willing to be part of the mass protest. They do not trust the government though and think that they could be crushed, just like it happened in 1988. But if we are just bystanders, today's rare and momentous events might not lead to the fall of the regime. Kyaw, Rangoon

I am not sure where these protests are going to lead to, but I am sure that it's not at all a good sign. Many people are expecting that there will be a great change coming soon. I am not sure if the monks will be joined by students, workers, or even soldiers. We are very insecure because we don't know what the government is planning to do. There are some news in the government-controlled newspapers that the monks are trying to agitate the public. This can be a big excuse for them to start attacking the monks. I really want some changes in Burma but I am not sure where the change is going to lead us to. I hope there won't be any blood bath this time like there was in 1988. Soe Soe, Mandalay

The current situation can lead to civil war because the junta still holds the power and the opposition might use this opportunity to form an armed struggle. We want things to change peacefully, not through a civil war. But if there's no way to avoid the arms struggle, the people will choose it and the conditions in our poor country may become worse. The international pressure, including from China and Russia, is very important for the future of Burma at this moment. Mg Khar, Rangoon

One of the monks who took part in the protests came to us and told us about his experiences. He said: "We are not afraid, we haven't committed a crime, we just say prayers and take part in the protests. We haven't accepted money from onlookers although they offered us a lot. We just accept water. People clapped, smiled and cheered us." The monk seemed very happy, excited and proud. But I'm worried for them. They care for us and we pray for them not to get harmed. Mya, Rangoon

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