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Protesting Continues in Burma Despite Crackdown

Witnesses in military-ruled Burma say anti-government protests are continuing, despite arrests and government efforts to crack down on those involved.

Media reports and witnesses say soldiers fired shots to break up a rally Wednesday of about 500 monks in the town of Pakokku, 600 kilometers northwest of Rangoon.

In another protest south of Rangoon, a spokesman for the opposition National League for Democracy says a local party leader was detained. Witnesses say about 1,000 people participated in that rally.

The numbers in both protests could not be independently confirmed. One monk who participated in the Pakokku protest told VOA that the rally drew a massive crowd.

In Washington, First Lady Laura Bush repeated her call for the United Nations to increase pressure on Burma's military regime.

Separately in Australia, President Bush called Burma's crackdown on peaceful protests "inexcusable" repression.

He said he plans to call attention to Burma's human rights situation at this week's summit of Asian and Pacific leaders.

Burmese activists have held a series of rare public demonstrations in recent weeks to protest the government's decision to sharply increase the price of fuel.

Burma's opposition says police have arrested more than 100 activists at the demonstrations. The government says it has detained 50 people

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.