Sep 28, 2007 (DVB), Army troops attempting to raid monasteries in Mandalay and Rangoon last night were forced to withdraw by local residents.
Troops approaching the monasteries backed off after seeing people from the surrounding areas armed with sticks and slingshots preparing to stop them.
In Mandalay, Masoyein (Old and New), Mya Taung, Veitthudayon, Phayagyi and Dhammikarama monasteries were targeted.
Residents had heard rumours of impending raids and made preparations to thwart the security forces' approach.
"We set up an alert system of banging pots and pans when anyone saw soldiers approaching the monastery, and we prepared ourselves with any available weapons to stop these unholy people from harassing the monks," said a Mandalay resident.
However, despite the residents' efforts, Pauk Myaing monastery was raided by government troops at around 7pm yesterday.
"They kicked the monks with their army boots and beat them up before arresting about 40 monks," said another local resident.
"If we just stood by, not even dogs would survive in Burma under these bastards' brutality and inhumanity," the resident continued, pledging that residents were ready to assist the monks whenever their help was needed.
In Rangoon, troops encountered resistance from local residents as they approached Sasana Alin Yaung, Sanana Wuntha and Min Nanda monasteries in Daw Pon and Tharkayta townships.
At Min Nanda monastery, which backs on to Pazuntaung creek, troops tried to approach from both land and water but retreated when they saw the strength of local resistance.
"There were not only Buddhist people but also Muslims, Christians and Hindus defending the monasteries," said a resident of Tharkayta township.
A similar story has been played out in other townships in Burma, as residents take action to resist government raids on monasteries.
At Myin Chan monastery in New Dagon (South), residents prepared to guard the monastery with the support of the abbot.
The monastery was visited last night by government officials who told the abbot to send all novice monks back to their townships outside Rangoon. The order was refused by the abbot.
Reporting by Maung Too