Page last updated at 11:29 GMT, Saturday, 10 May 2008 12:29 UK

Burmese voice anger on poll day

Burma's military government has pressed ahead and held a constitutional referendum, even though parts of the country are struggling to recover from Cyclone Nargis.

Here Burmese people tell the BBC about voting and the challenges of life in Rangoon, where the vote was postponed.


People vote in a polling station in Mandalay
Voting is going on in parts of the country
Today the voting started. Although I am in Rangoon my vote is in a village elsewhere.

My niece went to the polling station in our home village to vote and the officer in charge told her to vote on my behalf.

So my niece had to vote on behalf of me. Now you can see how strict their rules are.

My sister also went to vote this morning. A man was standing at each door of the secret polling room made for a secret vote. As my sister was not too sure where to write, she asked him and - immediately the man put a tick on her paper. My sister then shouted at him and told him that she will tick by herself.

So she made it a cross. I know that the vote will be not be counted.

In a place called Taunggyi, too, voting on behalf of the legal voter was allowed to take place.

Yesterday I attended a funeral service held at the Yayway cremation site. In the past the dead bodies were cremated by gas fire one by one but now due to fuel shortages and electricity blackouts they piled up the corpses, poured gasoline, and burned them at one time.

We have no choice but to accept it.


The people in charge of the polling booths were shouting at people and telling them only to tick "yes".
Today we went round the polling stations to see people voting. People were in no hurry. Everything was normal for them.

I voted. I saw people voting "yes". I voted "no" as a very large sign, a very large cross.

The people in charge of the polling booths were shouting at people and telling them only to tick "yes". They were instructing people to do just as they ask.

People looked frightened to vote or ask the polling officers. There are police at the entrance gate. The authorities have said this is for security but it seems to frighten the people who come to the polling booth.

I believe the people want to vote "No." People have got very angry at the junta's position on foreign aid.

I was very disappointed and upset at this too.


Today is a bit cloudy. There is not much excitement for the referendum in our area because it has been postponed.

People are dying right now but the government is still denying international help.
Some areas have electricity and water supply at night. But most areas are still dark.

We feel very bad, we have a bad feeling about the government and what they have done about the disaster. We never received any proper warnings before the storm.

Help from the government only came after three days. People are dying right now but the government is still denying international help.

All the people are really angry about that. This was a good time for the military government to collaborate with the people. They could have had support from the people if they really helped them.

Instead they are acting in a way so the people will hate them.

I have heard that some local organisations are going to the disaster area. Right now some of my friends are organising items and donations - but they cannot go in a big group. They have to go in one or two cars and then come back to make another trip.

If they go in a big group the government will stop them.

Most people here want to donate to the disaster area. The government says this has to be done through the district authorities. We don't believe them. We don't want to donate to local authorities.

At home we don't have any water. We have to find water from sources outside our home. We have to use this efficiently, only to drink or to wash our face.

When the referendum does happen, I think most people will vote "No". People are really angry.


Woman in temporary shelter near Yangon
People are still living in temporary shelters in Rangoon
Rangoon is quite calm now, returning to normal conditions.

We are in an affected area so the vote is postponed. It's nice that they postponed the vote. It's good for us if we vote later.

I don't think it will make any difference. If we vote today or later, we are still going to express our opinion

The priorities here are food, water, sanitation and shelter. Some people are living in temples, pagodas and mosques and they are returning to their own places now.

People are going to their own villages. Those who are rich can support their own people. They donate through NGOs and they buy food and distribute, they get water from the purification area and supply that.

Prices had gone up but they are coming down now.

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