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Burmese Pro Democracy Activists Begin Week Long Prayer Vigil


A group of several hundreds Burmese pro- democracy activists have staged a candlelight vigil in Rangoon, marking the start of a week long campaign for peace and the freedom of political prisoners.

Activists wearing white and holding candles gathered today at the famous Shwedagon pagoda, despite a heightened security presence.

Their prayer session marks the end of a month-long petition drive calling for the release of the country's estimated 11,00 political prisoners, including opposition leader Ang San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest.

A group named the 88 Generation Students is calling for the vigil to extend through November fourth. The group is named after the 1988 demonstrations that demanded a return to civilian rule. The army put down that uprising, killing thousands of
people.

The petition campaign and prayer vigil are rare shows of protest in military-ruled Burma.

The organizers say they have collected more than 500,000 signatures calling for the release of the country's political prisoners.

Five of the group's members were detained a few days before the campaign began.

Information for this report is provided y AP, AFP and Reuters.

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