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Burmese Troops Warn Rangoon Residents of Arrests


Burmese soldiers have warned residents of the country's main city, Rangoon, that people who took part in pro-democracy protests last week will be found and arrested.

Burmese troops issued the warning Wednesday on loudspeakers as they drove through Rangoon, saying they have photographs of the protesters.

Residents say Burmese security forces detained "many" people in pre-dawn raids on their homes near Rangoon's Shwedagon Pagoda, the country's holiest shrine.

A staff member of the United Nations Development Program was among those arrested early Wednesday. Her husband and brother-in-law also were detained.

Burmese troops violently suppressed peaceful anti-government protests in Rangoon last week. Dissidents say up to 200 protesters were killed and thousands were detained. Burma's military says 10 people died.

European Union ambassadors meeting in Brussels Wednesday agreed in principle to toughen EU sanctions against Burma in response to the crackdown.

Diplomats say the EU will expand visa bans on Burmese officials and further restrict trade with Burma. They say the additional sanctions will take effect after receiving final approval from EU foreign ministers, who meet in Luxembourg on October 15th.

Australia's ambassador to the United Nations, Robert Hill, says Canberra also will impose financial sanctions against Burma's military rulers and their supporters, to increase pressure on them to accept democratic reforms.

In another development, Burmese authorities released a Burmese journalist working for a Japanese newspaper (Tokyo Shimbun) today in Rangoon, after detaining him for six days.

Meanwhile, U.N. special envoy to Burma Ibrahim Gambari met today in Singapore with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Gambari briefed Mr. Lee on his visit to Burma this week, during which he met detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma's military ruler, General Than Shwe. The U.N. has not released any details about Gambari's meetings.

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