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US Calls for Humanitarian Access to Burmese Prisoners


The United States is calling on Burma to allow international humanitarian organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, to visit people arrested in recent anti-government protests.

U.S. State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said Tuesday that the United States is concerned for the well-being of the more than 150 Burmese citizens detained after multiple reports of brutal beatings and interrogations.

Protests have been erupting across Burma since the government doubled the price of fuel in August. Officials say the increase was needed because of high world oil prices.

Last week, security forces arrested and beat several monks during a protest in the central city of Pakokku against the military government's economic policies. Witnesses said soldiers also fired warning shots over the monks' heads.

Burmese dissident media , the Thailand-based "Irrawaddy" magazine reported Tuesday that Buddhist monks may stop accepting donations from soldiers unless the Burmese government apologizes for attacking the monks.

Burma is a devoutly Buddhist nation and giving donations to monks is an important spiritual duty. A boycott of alms from soldiers could send a strong message to the military.

Information for this news is provided by Reuters and afp.

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