Sittwe monks' protest disrupted by authorities

Aug 26, 2008 (DVB), A planned demonstration by monks in the Arakan state capital Sittwe was disrupted by local authorities, according to Arakan National League for Democracy joint secretary U Than Hlaing.

The authorities had increased the number of armed security personnel on the streets of Sittwe but the monks decided to proceed with their demonstration despite the heightened security presence, U Than Hlaing said.

Forty monks gathered in the city at 1pm in an attempt to mark the first anniversary of the demonstration against commodity price rises by 300 Sittwe monks on 24 August last year.

"The intention was to stage a memorial protest," U Than Hlaing said.

"But the authorities got wind of the plan and so security forces turned up suddenly and aggressively and it didn't happen."

Security had been further stepped up in advance of the protest after a riot police officer was killed by a group of local youths during a clash on 22 August at the spot where the monks gathered.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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