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Red paint campaign commemorates protests

Sep 4, 2008 (DVB), Activists have sprayed red paint on the walls of various public building in Rangoon, reportedly to commemorate last year's September protests and their violent suppression by the military regime.

Red paint began to appear on 2 September in Lanmadaw and Pabedan townships on the walls of the Sanpya cinema, Thayettaw monastery, and the Theinggyi market overpass but was deleted by armed security personnel within hours, according to an eyewitness.

"They erased them straight away and made it match the original colour," the witness said.

"Some of them were in civilian clothing and some were wearing the uniforms of the security forces."

Given the timing of the red paint campaign, the witness said it seemed to be intended to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the Saffron Revolution as a reminder to people not to forget the monks.

"It could happen again. I am hearing a lot of different voices; people are not very satisfied," the witness said.

The witness said that an army truck was parked at city hall and vehicles carrying security forces armed with shields and batons were patrolling the city.

A journalist in Rangoon said the demonstrations and subsequent violent crackdown would be remembered as part of popular history.

"This history will never disappear. People won’t forget the Saffron Revolution," he said.

"People might disappear, but history stays with us , you can’t kill it."

Last September's mass public demonstrations led by monks, students and civilians were brutally suppressed by the Burmese regime.

The former United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Burma, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, said that at least 31 people were killed, though other estimates put the number much higher.

Thousands more were arrested, many of whom remain in detention or are awaiting trial.

Reporting by Htet Yarzar

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