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Burma Detains More People From Pro-Democracy Protests


The Burmese military government says 78 more people have been taken in for questioning about mass pro-democracy protests that were crushed last month with deadly force.

But witnesses say fewer police are on the streets of Rangoon today- Sunday. They say authorities have removed barricades from Rangoon's Shwedagon and Sule pagodas - where police fired on activists to stop the demonstrations.

In Bangkok, protesters outside Burma's embassy demonstrated for a second day calling for freedom and the release of political prisoners.

Malaysia urged Burma's military government to begin unconditional immediate talks with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Malaysia's official Bernama news agency quotes Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar as saying both sides should meet without preconditions before the international community puts additional sanctions on Burma.

The state-run newspaper in Burma "The New Light of Myanmar", meanwhile, says more than 12,00 people detained for their part in the protests in Rangoon have been released after pledging not to demonstrate again. About half of them were Buddhist monks.

The newspaper says 135 monks remain in custody, but diplomats and dissident groups say the number of detainees is probably closer to six thousand.

Britain, France and the United States have circulated a draft resolution at the UN Security Council calling on Burma's government to free political prisoners and open talks with dissident leaders.

The document would not be legally binding, but the Burmese government may take notice if the statement were approved by China, which is one of Burma's main trading partners and arms suppliers.

Information for this report is provided by AFP.

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