Stop crackdown in Burma! Labor groups picket Burma embassy; shave heads as respect to monks’ struggle

Filipino protesters display a wanted poster of Myanmar's military junta leader Gen. Than Shwe during a rally in support to the ongoing protest in Myanmar Friday, Sept. 28, 2007 in front of the building housing the Myanmar embassy in Manila's financial district Philippines. Soldiers with automatic rifles fired into crowds of anti-government demonstrators in Myanmar Thursday, killing at least nine people in the bloodiest day in more than a month of protests demanding an end to military rule. (AP Photo/Pat Roque)

Labor groups Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) and Partido ng
Manggagawa (PM) with Free Burma Coalition-Philippines (FBC-Phils) held a
rally today infront of the Burma Embassy* in Makati City and further
denounced the recent crackdown against peaceful demonstrators in
military-ruled Burma. Protest against the crackdown in Burma also
happened in Cebu City led by APL workers.

To signify disgust against the crackdown and at the same time pay
respect to the Monks’ struggle, five protesters shaved their heads
infront of the embassy.

Protesters also unveiled enlarged photo of Gen. Tan Shwe, the Burmese
dictator who, according to the group, ordered the crackdown in Burma.

The protests inside Burma continued today but yesterday’s rally of about
300,000 people were marred by violent dispersals.

Activists belonging to the Free Burma Coalition have their heads shaved during a protest in front of the Myanmar embassy in the Makati financial district of Manila September 28, 2007 to denounced the crackdown against demonstrators in military-ruled Myanmar. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco (PHILIPPINES)Labor groups said that military junta did not exercise restraint and has
crossed the line by beating and arresting the peacefully marching
Buddhist monks and other people. Last night, the junta jailed a popular
artist and imposed an evening curfew. Together with this is a ban on any public gathering of more than 5 people.

APL Secretary General Joshua Mata said, “ Filipino labor groups would
like to register our anger and disappointment against the ruling regime in Burma. There is no way the junta can justify their brutal actions.
The use of brute force to quell the peaceful protest in Burma is
uncalled for. Now the UN and the ASEAN must take decisive actions
against the regime before it’s too late.”

Mata added,

“The crackdown in Burma is a big slap to the international
community that has been struggling long and hard with the democratic movement for Burma just to help in bringing back democracy and justice in Burma. In broad day-light, the junta massacred its own people. It’s hard to imagine how torture and other human rights violations happen at
night.”

Saying that ASEAN must roll up its sleeves for a serious work in Burma,
Mata continued, “N/ow is the proper time for the ASEAN to prove that its
vision of building a caring and sharing community is beyond usual
rhetoric.”

Meanwhile, Campaign coordinator of Partido ng Manggagawa Yuen Abana
explained, “It seems that diplomacy now failed in Burma. The generals
are not listening. The junta cares only for its continuous survival in
power.”

Abana said, “The crackdown in Burma is another monumental blunder for
the junta. If the junta is sincerely desirous of arriving at a national
reconciliation for the sake of Burma, it must seek a workable formula.
But what we see now is a government that is unwilling to cooperate and
unable to initiate tangible democratic changes.”

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