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Burmese Monks Hold Third Day of Anti-Government Marches

Hundreds of Buddhist monks have marched through Rangoon in one of the most defiant protests against Burma's military government in at least a decade.

Witnesses say the monks chanted prayers Thursday as they entered the revered Shwedagon pagoda, which authorities had locked earlier this week. The monks then marched through the rain to another pagoda.

Thursday is the third straight day the monks have marched peacefully through Rangoon.

They 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, but have refrained from taking strong action against the monks.

The government admitted using tear gas and firing warning shots to break up a protest in Sittwe Tuesday. Authorities refrained from intervening in marches Wednesday.

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 AFP, AP and Reuters.