More than a week of protests in Toronto against the violence in Burma culminated last night with the Global March for the People of Burma. The demonstration began at 6:00 p.m. in front of the Chinese consulate on St. George Street before making its way to Queen’s Park, where a vigil was led by monks from the city’s Buddhist temples. According to the Toronto Star, hundreds heeded the call from Amnesty International and other human rights groups to rally in support of the monks in Burma, many of whom have been detained, murdered, or forced into hiding since the junta’s crackdown began late last month.
Other cities around the world also participated in demonstrations yesterday. In London, 3000 people turned up at a rally in Trafalgar Square, while protesters in Brussels carried yellow roses and pictures of the Burmese pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Protesters hope that their respective countries can put pressure on China to withdraw its support of the military regime in Burma. China is Burma’s most influential ally and trading partner.
Sources from Burma report that tens of thousands of monks and other peaceful protesters have been kidnapped and sent to prison camps as part of the junta’s efforts to silence dissent. A particularly disturbing account from a defected Burmese intelligence officer states that hundreds of monks have been executed and their bodies burned or “dumped deep inside the jungle.” In an attempt to control what gets leaked to the outside world, the junta has cut off all Internet and cellular service in the country.
Toronto organizers have set up a website, and are also using their presence on Facebook to get information out about future demonstrations.
Photo courtesy of BrendanGeorge.