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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 October 2007, 00:03 GMT 01:03 UK
Global rallies to pressure Burma
Protest in Trafalgar Square, London
Monks protest in London. A delegation met PM Gordon Brown
Campaigners in 30 cities around the world have staged a series of rallies against the bloody crackdown on anti-government protests in Burma.

The day of marches began in New Zealand, then moved to Asia and Europe and then North America.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown met marchers in London and vowed to keep "pressure for change" and push for more EU sanctions against the Burmese junta.

The marches come as Western powers at the UN make moves to condemn the junta.

Diplomats have circulated a draft statement at the UN denouncing the "violent repression" of pro-democracy protests.

I want the EU to impose further sanctions on the regime to make it absolutely clear we will not tolerate the abuses that have taken place
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown

The US, France and the UK called for immediate dialogue with opposition leaders, while the US suggested it would push for sanctions on Burma.

But China and Russia remain opposed to sanctions, saying the situation in Burma is an internal affair that does not threaten international peace and security.

On Saturday, Mr Brown said that he would push for European Union sanctions as he met Burmese exiles and campaigners at Downing Street as part of the global day of protests:

"I want the EU to impose further sanctions on the regime to make it absolutely clear we will not tolerate the abuses that have taken place," he told the delegation.


Demonstrations took place at noon local time in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, the UK and the US.

Protest in Dublin
Capuchin and Carmelite monks join protests in Dublin, Ireland

There were no reported demonstrations in Burma's largest city Rangoon, though, according to a Buddhist monk interviewed on the Burmese service of Radio Free Asia, people were praying in their homes.

Red headbands will be tied onto government buildings, religious shrines or key landmarks.

Myo Thein, of the Burma Campaign UK, which organised the London event, said the marches "are designed to show the people of Burma that we stand with them and the generals that we are watching their every move".

"We also hope the protests will force the UK government to do more to demand an end to the military crackdown and get the UN Security Council to act," he added.

On Friday, UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari warned Burma's military rulers of "serious international repercussions" if they do not move towards democracy.

Briefing the Security Council after a four-day visit to Burma, he also voiced concern about arbitrary arrests and rights abuses said to be continuing after widespread protests.

Long running campaign

At least 10 people were killed in the crackdown after last week's protests, but Mr Gambari said he feared the real death toll could be much higher.

He said there was great concern over reports of night-time raids, arbitrary arrests, mass relocations and beatings.

BBC sources in Burma say as many as 10,000 people - many of them monks - were rounded up for interrogation following the protests.

Aung San Suu Kyi (L) with UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari, 04/10
Western powers say the junta should talk to Aung San Suu Kyi
Mr Gambari told the BBC he hoped to return to Burma soon and that the key to progress was getting senior generals and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to talk to each other.

"There's been so much mistrust on both sides because... for a long time, and I think to some extent now, the generals did not want, until now, they didn't even want to talk to Aung San Suu Kyi, [and] she didn't particularly want to talk to them," he said.

Earlier reports suggested that General Than Shwe, the head of the ruling junta, had agreed in principle to meet the detained pro-democracy leader.

He insisted that Ms Suu Kyi must give up her calls for international sanctions to be imposed against the regime, state media reported.

But the opposition in Rangoon say the junta is effectively asking Ms Suu Kyi to abandon her campaign for democracy.

"They are asking her to confess to offences that she has not committed," said Nyan Win, spokesman for the National League for Democracy.

Demonstrations in cities around the world


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