The protestors marched from Shwedagon pagoda into the commercial centre of Rangoon, where they gathered around Sule pagoda and nearby city hall."National reconciliation is very important for us... The monks are standing up for the people," proclaimed poet Aung Way. One monk told the Associated Press: "People do not tolerate the military government any longer."
The monks - who have been spearheading the protests - have been handing out pictures of Burmese independence hero Aung San, the deceased father of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. They are also carrying flags, including some bearing the image of a fighting peacock used by students during the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, witnesses told Reuters news agency. Students were also openly marching yesterday. The junta, which violently repressed the 1988 protests killing some 3,000 people, finally broke its silence over the mounting protests late on Monday, saying that it was ready to "take action" against the monks. It repeated its warning in state media on Tuesday, ordering monks not to get involved in politics and accusing them of allowing themselves to be manipulated by the foreign media.
The Dalai Lama, has given his backing to the monks' call for freedom and democracy.