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Protests Continue in Burma Despite Crackdown


Witnesses in military-ruled Burma say anti-government protests are continuing, despite arrests and government efforts to crackdown on those involved.

Media reports and witnesses say soldiers fired shots to break up a rally Wednesday of about 500 monks in the town of Pakokku, 600 kilometers northwest of Rangoon.

In another protest south of Rangoon, in the town of Bogale, a spokesman for the opposition National League for Democracy says a local party leader was detained. Witnesses say about one thousand people participated in that rally.

The numbers in both protests could not be independently confirmed. One monk who participated in the Pakokku protest told VOA (Burmese service) that the rally drew a massive crowd.

President Bush today criticized Burma's military government, calling its recent crackdown on peaceful protests "inexcusable" repression.

Burmese activists have held a series of rare public demonstrations in recent weeks to protest the government's decision to sharply increase the price of fuel.

Burma's opposition says police have arrested more than 100 activists at the demonstrations. The government says it has detained 50 people.

The US president applauded jailed Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for promoting democracy, despite being under detention for most of the past 18 years.

Mr. Bush said he plans to call attention to Burma's human rights situation at this week's summit of Asian and Pacific leaders in Australia.

Information for this story is provided by AP and Reuters.

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