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Authorities keep Rangoon monks under close watch

Apr 30, 2008 (DVB)−A monastery in the former Burmese capital Rangoon has been under the close watch of government authorities as the constitutional referendum draws nearer, according to locals.

A resident of Alone township in Rangoon said 17 police vehicles have been deployed in the township’s Thittaw street since 24 April to monitor the activities of monks from the Zawtanarama lecturing monastery which is located on that street.

"Locals have seen the police cars parked in the street near the monastery at night," said the resident.

"The police are armed and accompanied by soldiers, and they hide in the bushes at the corner of the street to monitor activities at the monastery."

Zawtanarama lecturing monastery, which was home to over 130 monks before the monk-led protests in September 2007, was raided by the military following the demonstrations and now only has around 40 monks living there.

The national referendum on the government's draft constitution is due to be held on 10 May.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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