November 14th, 2007
According to The Independent, this repression comes out clearly when you hear reports of monks being confined in a room with their own excrement for days, people beaten just for being bystanders at a demonstration, a young woman too traumatised to speak, and screams in the night in Rangoon, the centre of the protests against the regime.
The first-hand accounts describe a campaign hidden from view, but even more sinister and terrifying than the open crackdown in which the regime’s soldiers turned their bullets and batons on unarmed demonstrators in the streets of Rangoon, killing at least 13.
According to the paper, the hidden crackdown is as methodical as it is brutal.
One 24-year-old monk said that about 400 of them were placed in one room. They had no access to toilets, no buckets, no water for washing. No beds, no blankets, no soap. The young man, too frightened to be named, was one of 185 monks taken in a raid on a monastery in the Yankin district of Rangoon on 28 September, two days after government soldiers began attacking street protesters.
On his release, the monk spoke to a Western aid worker in Rangoon, who smuggled his testimony and those of other prisoners and witnesses out of Burma on a small memory stick.
Most of the detained monks, the low-level clergy, were eventually freed without charge as were the children among them.
Another Rangoon resident told the aid worker: “We all hear screams at night as they [the police] arrive to drag off a neighbour. We are torn between going to help them and hiding behind our doors. We hide behind our doors. We are ashamed. We are frightened.”
Meanwhile, the United States yesterday threatened unspecified new sanctions against Burma and called for an investigation into the death of Win Shwe.
At the weekend, the Myanmarese Government said it has released more than half of the 2,171 people arrested, but exile groups estimate the number of detentions between 6,000 and 10,000.
In Rangoon, people say they are more frightened now than when soldiers were shooting on the streets. (ANI)