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Security stepped up ahead of 8888 anniversary

Aug 6, 2008 (DVB), As the anniversary of the 8888 uprising draws near, the Burmese military regime has deployed troops and security officials in major cities and increased security measures across the country.

A Rangoon resident said there had been a noticeable increase in the security presence on the city streets.

"There's been an increase in military troops in Rangoon and a large presence of plain clothes government officials," the resident said.

"There are just enough uniformed troops to make their presence felt, but the civilian officials are everywhere, on the corner of every street and in the tea shops," he continued.

"And you can always see two or three uniformed officials such as the USDA at every traffic light."

A Mandalay resident said armed soldiers had appeared on street corners in response to a recent alert after explosives were found in Mandalay.

In Bago, a local resident said there had been an increase in the number of military troops deployed and police had been placed on alert but there had so far been no anti-government activity.

The resident said authorities had been questioning people wearing red, including a number of trishaw drivers who were sporting Manchester United football shirts.

"The government is more concerned about 8888 than the people are , the people have almost forgotten about it because it was twenty years ago," he said.

"Some people don't know what 8888 is any more, but the government is still very concerned about it."

The resident said that posters had been put up on buildings around Bago offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of four people alleged to be planning bomb attacks.

In Arakan state, local authorities have also increased the security presence in response to rumours of planned protests to mark the 8888 anniversary on Friday.

The authorities have also ordered monks to remain in their monasteries except for their daily alms collection as an additional precaution.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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