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Thousands of Foreigners Attend Burma's Gem Auction Despite Call for Boycott


More than two thousand foreign merchants attended an annual gem auction in Burma this month, despite international calls to boycott the sale following the military-ruled country's bloody crackdown on protesters in September.

Burma's state-run "New Light of Myanmar" says more than 35-hundred lots of jade, gems and pearls were sold at the auction. The newspaper did not say how much money was made.

New York-based Human Rights Watch says the organizer of the auction, Myanmar Gems Enterprise, earned nearly 300 million dollars during the 2006-2007 fiscal year.

State media previously reported that a large percentage of the foreign merchants at the auction came from China.

Jewelry companies and human rights groups have called for a boycott of gems to protest the September crackdown and to keep funds from flowing into government coffers.

The sale of jewels is a key source of revenue for the military government.

This Information has been provided by AP, and AFP.
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