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Last updated: 28 September, 2007 - Published 14:58 GMT
 
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Church 'supports' Burmese monks
 
Bishop Chickera (L) with President Rajapaksa (Government photo)
Bishop says it is his duty to condemn Burmese authorities' heavy handed manner
Christian clergy in Sri Lanka have expressed serious concern over the violence in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

In an open letter to the Ambassador for Myanmar in Sri Lanka, Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, the Anglican Bishop in Colombo, has expressed solidarity with the protesting Buddhist monks in Myanmar.

"As a fellow religious leader, I wish to express my solidarity with the commendable leadership provided by the Buddhist monks of Myanmar to this mass agitation," the letter said.

'Solidarity' with Burmese monks

Official media said nine people were killed on Thursday as troops fired tear gas and bullets to clear large crowds of protesters off Rangoon's streets.

But Australia's ambassador in Burma said the toll was probably higher.

 The mass protests that are taking place in many cities, towns and villages like Yangon, Mandalay, Pegu, Sittwe and Pakokku now being led by Buddhist monks are due to the inhumane treatment meted out by the Government to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
 
Bishop Duleep de Chickera

Saying that he was "saddened" to learn the recent events where protesters including Buddhist monks were shot dead and beaten by the military, the Bishop says he felt it was his duty to add voice against the heavy handed manner the protesters are dealt with by the authorities.

Authorities are trying to stamp out the largest uprising in two decades, led by Buddhist monks whose numbers on the streets appear to have dwindled since the crackdown.

Monasteries have been raided and hundreds of monks are thought to have been detained. Pictures from Burma show ransacked monasteries with pools of blood on the ground.

Lack of democracy

"The mass protests that are taking place in many cities, towns and villages like Yangon, Mandalay, Pegu, Sittwe and Pakokku now being led by Buddhist monks are due to the inhumane treatment meted out by the Government to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi," Bishop Chikera's letter said.

Burmese monks barred by military
Bishop says the crisis can only be diffused by the restoration of the democratic rights of the people in Burma

"Your Excellency, please convey to your Government my grave concern at the brutal repression of legitimate protest".

The head of Anglican church in Sri Lanka has urged Myanmar authorities to respect democratic rights of the people.

"I have no doubt that the crisis can only be diffused by the restoration of the democratic rights of the people and the recognition of the results of the democratic Election that chose Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to lead your country".

 
 
LOCAL LINKS
Forum: Monks' role in politics
26 September, 2007 | Highlights
Lanka urged to help Burmese monks
25 September, 2007 | Sandeshaya
"Boycott Burma regime" - AHRC
20 September, 2007 | Sandeshaya
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