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Burma Cuts Phone Services to Activists, Journalists


Burma's military government has cut off the mobile phones of some pro-democracy supporters and journalists following a series of rare protests over fuel prices.

Telecommunication officials say more than 50 phones have been affected by the move.

The French News Agency reports two of its journalists have lost their mobile phone service.

The opposition National League for Democracy also says the main landline to its headquarters in Rangoon was disconnected a few days ago.

The Committee to Protect Journalists is urging Burma's military government to restore the phone services immediately, saying journalists have an absolute right to communicate.

Protests began in Rangoon last month after the government doubled fuel prices, saying the increase was necessary because of rising world oil prices. The unrest has spread throughout the country since then.

In another development Saturday, a state-run newspaper urged Buddhist monks to stay away from the protests.

A newspaper column purportedly written by a senior Buddhist monk blamed anti-government forces for encouraging monks to demonstrate.

The article is the latest attempt by the military-ruled government to discourage monks from joining public rallies. In the past week, military rulers also have made highly publicized donations to Buddhist monasteries.

Last week, hundreds of monks held local officials hostage to protest their forceful suppression of a demonstration the day before.

Activists say authorities have arrested at least 100 demonstrators. The government says it is holding 50 people.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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