Demonstrations held in India and Sri Lanka

Oct 2, 2007 (DVB), Nearly one thousand people in India's capital New Delhi yesterday marched in front of the Burmese embassy to protest against the government's brutal crackdown on recent protests in country.

The protesters , multi-ethnic democracy activists and monks from Burma, carrying placards and opposition flags – were halted before they reached the Burmese embassy by Indian police and fire engines, said witnesses.

However, a group of Burmese activists in a truck fitted with loudspeakers managed to reach the Burmese and Chinese embassies and shout slogans denouncing the Burmese government's brutality.

The demonstration was later joined by Indian civilians and politicians, including India's former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral and former Defense Minister George Fernandes, as well as a small number of Tibetan refugees.

Inder Kumar Gujral told the press he joined the protest to show solidarity with the Burmese people and criticized the Indian government's continued support to the Burmese junta even after its violent crackdown on peaceful protestors.

"We are joining [the protest] to show that we are on same side as the Burmese people. I pray for their victory, as their victory will be ours too…," said Gujral.

"But the Indian government now is different from us. They are not on the right side."

George Fernandes also strongly criticised the Indian government for their ignorance of the current situation in Burma.

"The footages showing the Burmese government's soldiers killing peaceful protesters have shocked the whole world… It is such a great shame for us that our Indian government is ignorant about this," Fernandes said.

In Sri Lanka, 150 Burmese, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi and Cambodian monks demonstrated in front of the United Nations mission in Colombo.

One monk, U Kawthala, a member of the group that organised the protest, explained the reason for the protest.

"We are protesting to call on the UN to help solve the current crisis in Burma where the ruling junta is brutally killing peaceful protestors" he said.

Reporting by Khin Maung Soe Min

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