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Demonstrators in London and Other World Cities Protest Burma Crackdown


A planned global day of demonstrations against Burma's crackdown on pro-democracy activists got under way today - Saturday in several cities in Asia, Europe and North America.

In London, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke to a delegation of Burmese democracy campaigners and Buddhist monks, voicing his support for international efforts to stop the violence in Burma. He also said he wants new sanctions on the military government.

Following the meeting, at least 15,000 protesters marched to London's Trafalgar Square. Along the way, protesters and monks scattered rose petals in the River Thames in a show of solidarity with protesters in Burma.

Meanwhile, demonstrators in front of UN headquarters in New York called on China to do more to help end repression in Burma.

Earlier in the day, demonstrators numbering in the hundreds gathered in several Asian cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

In a statement Friday, the rights group Amnesty International condemned the use of violence against peaceful protesters, and called on the UN Security Council to immediately impose a comprehensive and mandatory arms embargo on that country.

Amnesty said today's demonstrations would call for an end to attacks on protesters in Burma and the immediate release of those detained for participation in peaceful assemblies (unless they are charged with a recognizably criminal offense). The statement also called for the release of all prisoners of conscience.

Amnesty had said protests were planned in at least a dozen countries, including Britain, Belgium, Mongolia, Sweden and the United States.

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