Page last updated at 00:51 GMT, Friday, 26 September 2008 01:51 UK

Burmese gloom one year after protests

Buddhist monks and protesters in a street in central Yangon, 26 September 2007
Monks participated in the protests in large numbers

A year has passed since popular protests against Burma's ruling junta filled the streets of Rangoon. A military crackdown finally brought the demonstrations to an end weeks after they began. Here Burmese describe their gloom and pessimism about the future.


I took part in the events on the street last year.

Many monks want to make the next revolution but the government is putting more limitations on them

Nothing has obviously changed in this time except our people are getting poorer and poorer.

I feel pessimistic about the future. The UN can't take any effective action against our government. They talk a lot but there is no action.

And the cyclone has not affected the political atmosphere at all. In fact, after the cyclone, our people have had to face inflation and many more troubles than before.

But people are talking about what happened last year. They don't forget about it. Many monks want to make the next revolution but the government is putting more limitations on monks because the first anniversary of the September revolt is getting close.


I didn't take part in the protests last year. But I was a leader in the 1988 protest in my home town and I was imprisoned and fired from my government post.

I believe nothing will change and no-one can make the regime change because they have guns.

I feel pessimistic about the future of our country if the junta is in power. As long as they stay in power no one can help us. The junta will look after their relatives and will neglect the people and the country.

The cyclone hasn't changed the political climate because the junta is firmly in power. The constitution drawn up by them was approved by the Burmese people at gunpoint.

Now, I think most of the people have forgotten about last year.

The junta has reduced the number of monks in each monastery. The monks dare not go out now. Whenever the junta gets news about uprisings, they call thugs, riot police and army men to beat, torture and kill whoever dares to go against the junta.

Here, there is tight security everywhere and the one who dares to come out and defy the junta will be taken to a place nobody knows about.


I did not take part in the protests, but I went around the city to witness the events.

I don't think anything has changed - not since 1962. All we had were false hopes and hardship.

The junta has a very simple answer to people power: shoot them all.

Poverty and injustice are still daily problems for ordinary citizens.

In general, I've lost hope about political change. But natural forces or divine intervention - such as Cyclone Nargis - might create change. I think the cyclone mobilised some political forces. I'm hoping they can do something in the next few months.

But the junta has a very simple answer to people power: shoot them all.

I'm now in the delta and the cyclone survivors are still in a dire state. Most of them survive with World Food Programme-distributed food.

But the food pipeline has broken due to restrictions when it comes to procuring rice. The loudest voice I could hear in my days touring the delta was: 'Please give us rice'.

People totally support the monks. But they all fear the gun. There are not many monks left in the temples. Most active monks are in prison or in hiding.


The government killed my father and I strongly believe that nothing good can come of an action against the government here.

Monks refused to accept donations from the government and there is no future for us.

No one dares to even say the word 'democracy'.

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