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Burma Arrests Activists After Fuel Price Protest


Burma's military government has arrested 13 activists, including one of Burma's most prominent pro-democracy leaders, after a protest in Rangoon Sunday over fuel price increases.

The state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar reported today that members of the 88 Generation Students group were detained Tuesday night for attempting to "undermine the stability and security of the nation."

Members of the 88 Generation Students were at the forefront of a 1988 pro-democracy uprising that was brutally suppressed by the military.

Among those detained is Min Ko Naing, who spent 16 years in prison, despite international calls for his release. He has won numerous awards for his pro-democracy efforts.

In another development, reports from Burma say at least 150 pro-democracy activists demonstrated on the outskirts of Rangoon today also to protest the increase in fuel prices. The protesters were confronted by a group of pro-government supporters and disbanded soon after. Reports say plainclothes security forces are patrolling the area.

Large demonstrations in Burma are rare, as the military government usually cracks down on even minor expressions of public dissent.

Earlier Tuesday, an international coalition of activist groups Shwe Gas Movement criticized the government's decision to raise prices, saying military leaders were making more than two-billion dollars in profits from natural gas exports.

The coalition made up of groups from western Burma, India and Bangladesh also argued that all natural gas extraction in Burma should be stopped until the people of Burma can democratically elect their leaders and have a say in determining the
use of their natural resources.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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