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Hundreds of Monks Stage Protest in Rangoon


Witnesses in Burma say at least 600 Buddhist monks protested on Friday in Rangoon, in their fourth straight day of demonstrations.

Braving intense rain, the maroon-robed monks chanted prayers as they walked from the Shwedagon Pagoda, the holiest shrine in Burma, to downtown Rangoon.

The monks have taken the lead in demonstrations that began last month after the government doubled the price of fuel, making transportation difficult for many of Burma's impoverished citizens.

Authorities arrested at least 50 activists in those demonstrations.

The government acknowledged using tear gas and firing warning shots to break up a protest in Sittwe Tuesday. Authorities refrained from intervening in marches Wednesday.

Monks are highly regarded in the devoutly Buddhist country and are credited with helping rally popular support for a 1988 protest against the government. Security forces ended those demonstrations with deadly force.

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