OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHGO #0926/01 2701159
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 271159Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6577
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0544
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 4076
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 7634
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5193
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0979
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 RANGOON 000926
DEPT FOR EAP/MLS; INR/EAP; S/ES-O/CMS
PACOM FOR FPA
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/20/2017
SUBJECT: CRACKDOWN RESULTS IN CASUALTIES
REF: A. RANGOON 924
B. RANGOON 913 AND PREVIOUS
Classified By: CDA Villarosa for Reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)
1. (C) Summary. The regime resorted to violence against
peaceful protests for a second day of the regime's crackdown.
Embassy officers observed security forces shooting into
crowds, using tear gas to disperse crowds, and beating
defiant protesters. We have received reports of numerous
injuries and can confirm one death. Overnight security
forces arrested several NLD members, including NLD spokesman
U Myint Thein. They also raided several local monasteries,
arresting and beating monks in the process. The GOB stated
that Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest at her
residence. End Summary.
Crackdown Results in Casualties
2. (C) While conducting surveillance of the downtown area
early on September 27, Poloff observed police erecting
blockades on main streets and near pagodas to prevent
marches. Vehicle and pedestrian traffic around Shwe Dagon
Pagoda remained completely blocked, and the security around
Aung San Suu Kyi's residence remained tight. Embassy
officers observed army trucks full of troops at various
locations around Rangoon throughout the day.
3. (C) For the eleventh straight day, protests occurred
throughout Rangoon. Unlike previous protests, the majority
of protestors were civilians, with a few monks helping
organize the marches. Embassy officers stationed around the
city saw crowds consisting of as many as 4,000 civilians. In
an effort to break up the marches, police set up and enforced
blockades, sprayed tear gas, and fired shots into the crowd.
Poloff witnessed one casualty, possibly a death in the
downtown area, and the arrest of one person. While
monitoring the situation, we noticed protesters repeated the
gatherings that we saw yesterday: after the police either
used tear gas or fired into the crowds, the groups would
quickly disperse only to reconvene a few hours later.
Emboffs reported more gunfire against this second move.
Witnesses told us that during demonstrations throughout the
city, police chased and beat the demonstrators.
4. (C) We also learned that one foreigner was injured
during the demonstrations, although we have not been able to
confirm his identity or nationality. He is assumed to be a
journalist or photographer, several of whom were noticed in
front of demonstrators.
5. (C) Even though the security forces ultimately resorted to
violence, Poloff observed attempts by security forces to
exercise discipline and restraint. The authorities broadcast
announcements, using very polite Burmese, requesting the
demonstrators to disperse or they would have to use force in
ten minutes. In addition he observed the riot police
marching in formation, those in front carrying shields only
and no weapons. When bystanders began throwing rocks and
bricks at them, they did not react.
6. (C) Embassy sources confirmed authorities arrested
several top NLD and ethnic leaders the night of September 26.
NLD sources told us police arrested party spokesman U Myint
Thein and NLD member U Hla Pe in their homes last night.
Authorities also detained Pu Kyin Shin Htan of the Zomi
National Congress and MP-elect Htang Kho Tan. Our contacts
told us the men were brought to the Aung Tha Pyay
Interrogation Center in Rangoon. Police told their families
to provide an ample supply of clothes, suggesting they may be
detained for a long time. We are seeking to confirm reports
police also arrested NLD members in Mandalay and Magwe last
Monasteries Raided Overnight
RANGOON 00000926 002 OF 002
7. (C) On the night of September 26, authorities raided at
least six large monasteries in Rangoon, many with significant
numbers of student monks. Sources told us that approximately
200 soldiers arrested Sayada Aindakaat, the leader of Makyin
Monastery and at least five other monks and three laypersons.
Late last night, authorities reportedly arrested as many as
100 monks from the Ngwe Kyar Yan monastery. Nearby witnesses
reported hearing sounds of violence coming from inside the
monastery. According to Poloff, who saw the munitions
canister, the police used 40 millimeter riot control
munitions during this raid. We have also received
unconfirmed reports monasteries in Mandalay and Magwe were
raided last night.
8. (C) In the afternoon of September 27, locals living
around the monastery visited the site to check on the monks,
and found the inside of the monastery in tatters: blood
spots on the floor, broken pots, and several destroyed Buddha
statues. Word spread and neighborhood residents began to
gather at the monastery, several contacts confirmed. Photos
of the destruction are now circulating on the internet. The
riot police arrived to suppress the protests, and fired
several shots with rubber bullets. The locals refused to
leave and instead surrounded the police and threw stones.
Additional riot police arrived on scene. As of 1700, the
skirmish was still ongoing.
9. (C) One foreigner told us that during his visit to a
different local monastery on September 27, the monks
expressed their reluctance to protest. The foreigner
indicated that the monks were now afraid that the security
forces would use force against them, although they had taken
a lead in previous demonstrations.
Aung San Suu Kyi's Whereabouts Confirmed
10. (C) The Deputy Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed us
that rumors about Aung San Suu Kyi's transfer to Insein
Prison were not true. He stated that she remains under house
arrest at her residence (Ref A).
11. (C) The demonstrators continue to risk their lives to
demand change. The difference today was a significantly
reduced number of monks but otherwise similar sized crowds to
yesterday. The public protest at the Ngwe Kyar Yan Monastery
took place at a distance from downtown, possibly signifying a
broadening. What is clear is that the demonstrators realize
they must continue now, otherwise they risk another twenty
years of military rule before the next generation dares to
take them on again.
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