Buddhist Monk’s challenge gains 20,000 strong

An update from the wire on the current protests:

ABOUT 20,000 people, half of them Buddhist monks, protested yesterday in an escalating show of dissent against Burma’s military government.

The protest in the capital began with 5000 people led by monks, but within an hour the crowd had swelled to 20,000.

For the first time since they began daily protests last Tuesday, the monks urged the public to join.

“We are marching for the people,” they chanted. “We want the people to join us.”

It was by far the biggest protest in Rangoon since demonstrations broke out five weeks ago after a huge hike in fuel prices that left many unable to afford even a bus ride. They are now the most serious challenge to the junta in almost two decades.

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