Authorities in Burma have arrested a key organizer of a rare series of protests, after a manhunt for the few dissidents who have evaded capture.

Htin Kyaw shouted protests as he was seized from a market place in Rangoon. Witnesses say he was beaten and dragged away by authorities.

Authorities in Burma say they have detained at least 49 people who protested this week on the outskirts of Rangoon against a steep hike in fuel prices.

Htin Kyaw told Voice of America in an interview Friday that he was organizing a big demonstration and urged people to join in. He said he and other activists are voicing the feelings of the public.

People in impoverished Burma are angry at the military government's decision earlier this month to double fuel prices at state-owned gas stations.

Demonstrations are extremely rare in the tightly controlled country where security forces tolerate little dissent.

The protests have been taking place since Sunday, mainly around Rangoon. No new demonstrations were reported Saturday.

Burma's government has been widely criticized for human rights violations, including the extended detention of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and more than 1,200 other political prisoners.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.