YANGON, Myanmar – A day of global protests against‘s junta began in cities across Asia Saturday, after the military regime admitted detaining hundreds of Buddhist monks when troops turned their guns on pro-democracy demonstrators last week.
Hoping to send a message to the generals that the world is still watching the situation, rights group Amnesty International organized marches in more than two dozen Asian, European and North American cities.
Hundreds marched in the Australian city ofbehind a banner demanding “No More Bloodshed.” A smaller crowd of about 50 turned out in . In ‘s biggest city, , 300 people attended a candlelight vigil Friday evening outside the city’s tallest buildings, the .
More rallies were planned in, , , England, , , and , the U.S. and .
The junta’s treatment of the Buddhist monks — who are revered in this deeply religious nation and led the street protests — is a key issue that could further inflame the people of Myanmar and anger soldiers loyal to the military rulers.
The government insisted most of the monks it detained had already been freed, with only 109 still in custody, according to an official statement broadcast Friday night on state TV. The report noted the junta was still hunting for four more monks it believed were ringleaders of the rallies.