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Burmese Monks Reluctantly Accept Donations from Military


After using force to crush mass protests led by Buddhist monks, Burma's military government says it has donated thousands of dollars to Buddhist monasteries.

The state-run "New Light of Myanmar" newspaper says the government also has given food and medical supplies to 50 monasteries on behalf of military members and their families.

A monk being sought by the authorities (Ashin Gambiya) told VOA the Buddhist clergy was intimidated into accepting the money. He says the monks consider the money to be dirty, so they will put it aside and refuse to use it.

Separately Monday, the Rangoon government announced the appointment of a deputy labor minister to serve as a government liaison to detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The Nobel Peace laureate has been under house arrest for more than a decade and is rarely granted visitors.

Burma's Buddhist monks started to refuse donations from the military last month -- a snub akin to religious excommunication in heavily Buddhist Burma -- and began leading mass pro-democracy demonstrations against the military government.

The military used deadly force to stop the marches. Later Monday, the United Nations Security Council is to consider a draft statement that would condemn the violent repression of peaceful demonstrations in Burma and call for the release of those detained.

Information for thsi story is provided by AP and AFP.

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