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Burma Threatens Action Against Protesting Monks


Burma's religious affairs minister has threatened to take action against Buddhist monks, who led as many as 100,000 people Monday in the biggest protest march against the government in nearly 20 years.

Brigadier General Thura Myint Maung's warning, broadcast on state television, is the first official reaction to escalating protests led by the monks.

Today's main protest moved peacefully from Burma's most sacred shrine, the Shwedagon Pagoda, through the streets of Rangoon to the city's center.

Recent demonstrations in Burma have continued to grow, posing a significant challenge to the country's military rulers.

The protest began last month after the government sharply raised fuel prices. But demonstrations have since turned into a general protest against Burma's repressive military leadership.

Burma has been ruled by a military government since 1962.

Burma's current leaders have been widely criticized for human rights violations and the detention of political activists, including pro-democracy opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Her National League for Democracy overwhelmingly won elections in 1990, but Burma's military rulers refused to relinquish power. Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for most of the past two decades.

Information for this story is provided by AP and AFP.

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