Officials absent from monastery donation

Dec 26, 2007 (DVB), An annual donation ceremony at New Masoeyein monastery in Mandalay which is usually attended by senior government officials has taken place with no government representatives present.

The festival has been held on 23 December at the monastery for the past five years.

This year's event took place between 8am and 12 noon, and was attended by around 1500 monks and 4000 lay donors, who donated 4000 robes and about 40 million kyat to the 3200 monks in the monastery.

In previous years, the event has been organised by a doctor, Thar Yin Myat, and has usually been well attended by a lot of senior government officials.

But this year there was no government involvement in planning the ceremony and no officials attended the event.

Local people who joined the ceremony said they were pleased to have had the opportunity to donate more to the monks this year.

New Masoeyein monastery has been among those calling for a boycott of government donations following the regime's violent crackdown on monks and civilians during public demonstrations in September.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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