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Burmese Troops Raid Monasteries, Arrest At Least 100 Monks


Witnesses in Burma say security forces have raided two Buddhist monasteries in the main city Rangoon and arrested at least 100 monks accused of organizing anti-government protests.

Military forces are reported to have stormed the monasteries early this Thursday morning, beating some of the maroon-robed monks.

Monks, who are highly revered in the Buddhist country, have been leading pro-democracy marches in Burma, posing the greatest challenge to the military-government in two decades.

Government troops opened fire on the monks and other protesters in Rangoon Wednesday in an effort to stop the week-long protests.

The Burmese government says one person was killed, but witnesses say at least five people died in the violence. Witnesses said more than 100 people were arrested and hundreds more injured when police beat activists and sprayed the crowd with tear gas.

Despite the crackdown, tens of thousands of people defied the military and marched through Rangoon Wednesday.

The unrest began last month after the government doubled the fuel price. It has since grown into a widespread protest against 45 years of oppressive military rule.

Burma's military regime has overseen the economic decline of the resource-rich nation in the past decades, and has brutally suppressed any opposition to its rule.

Government forces killed an estimated 3,000 pro-democracy activists in 1988.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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