Accessibility links

Burmese Celebrities Support Anti-Government Protests

Several Burmese celebrities are urging support for Buddhist monks and pro-democracy activists, tens of thousands of whom are marching Monday in Rangoon against the military government.

Well-known comedian Zaganar told a radio program (Democratic Voice of Burma) broadcast from overseas that Burmese actors and musicians should speak out against government oppression, as the country's monks have been doing for the past week.

Poet Aung Way also called for greater public support for the pro-democracy movement.

Zaganar and popular Burmese movie actor Kyaw Thu delivered food and water to monks Monday at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon.

Monday's large rally began at the pagoda, the country's most revered Buddhist site.

The protests broke out last month after the government raised the price of fuel. They have since turned into a general march against the military leadership - the largest demonstrations against the military government in two decades.

On Saturday, a group of monks managed to reach the Rangoon home of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for most of the past two decades.

Witnesses say Aung San Suu Kyi greeted the monks in her first public appearance since 2003.

Burma's leaders rarely tolerate dissent. The military stopped mass demonstrations in 1988 with force, killing hundreds of people and wounding thousands. Many protesters were forced to flee to jungle areas bordering Thailand.