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10,000 Monks Protest in Burma


Witnesses in Burma say nearly 10,000 monks have marched through the city of Mandalay in one of their largest demonstrations against the military government.

Saturday is the fifth straight day the monks have staged a protest. Another march was also held in Rangoon, where witnesses said that detained pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi greeted the monks when they were allowed to march past her home. Officials have not confirmed the report.

On Friday, 600 robed monks braved intense rain and walked from the Shwedagon Pagoda, the holiest shrine in Burma, to downtown Rangoon.

Monks have taken the lead in demonstrations that began last month after the government doubled the price of fuel, making transportation difficult for many of Burma's impoverished citizens. Authorities arrested at least 50 activists in those demonstrations.

The government acknowledged using tear gas and firing warning shots to break up a protest in Sittwe Tuesday.

Monks are highly regarded in the devoutly Buddhist country and are credited with helping rally popular support for a 1988 protest against the government. Security forces ended those demonstrations with deadly force.

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

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