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Sep 30, 2008 (DVB), Members of the Sittwe monks' union have called for the release of U Eitthriya, who was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for his involvement in public demonstrations last year.
The monks made their demand on 28 September and also called for the release of all political prisoners, including monks, arrested in connection with last year's Saffron Revolution.
U Eitthriya, a 28-year-old monk from Seittathuka monastery in Sittwe, was arrested on 28 September 2007, according to leading monk U Yekkhaputta.
"When the monks started to demonstrate in August 2007, abbot U Eittrhtiya led them and then he was arrested," U Yekkhaputta said.
"It has been a year now. If our demand is not met we will join with monks from inside and outside and we will continue to fight."
U Yekkhaputta urged the Burmese people to join together to challenge the regime.
"You are your own salvation. Don’t depend on any foreign country or the UN, demand your own rights," U Yekkhaputta said.
"If our generation does not do its duty, our race, religion and the Sasana will disappear," he said.
"The reason why [the government's] machinery is working is because the public is afraid. If we were not afraid their machinery would totally collapse, we strongly believe that," he went on.
"If the public can come to realise that they have to fight for their rights, then victory is not far."
Sittwe monks staged a silent march in commemoration of the monk-led protests last year and the subsequent violent crackdown by the military regime.
Security in Sittwe, which was already high around the anniversary of the Saffron Revolution, was further tightened in response to the march.
Reporting by Naw Say Phaw