The military junta in Myanmar has begun shooting the monks whose protests have filled the streets for over a week. According to a French diplomat, bodies and blood can be seen on the ground, but it still has not stopped the demonstrations:
The Myanmar military opened fire on crowds of protesters in Yangon, almost certainly causing casualties, a French diplomat in the city said Wednesday.
“Shots were fired by the security forces, first in the air, then at the demonstrators. We cannot know if many people were injured but we can be sure that blood was spilled,” Emmanuel Mouriez, number two at the French embassy, told French radio RTL.
“We have several witness accounts describing people lying on the ground,” he added.
The counteroffensive started with teargas and cracking heads. When that and a few dozen arrests did nothing, police started firing warning shots above the protestors’ heads. That also apparently failed to move the monks off the street, and the police started aiming lower.
This will have one of two results. Either it will act as a Tiananmen Square moment, where the protests shut down from fear of the government, or it will serve as a death blow to the junta. Killing people openly for peaceful protests is the last resort of tyrants, and when it fails to work, the people find their power to overthrow the tyranny.
Early reports have the protests continuing. Let’s hope the junta reads the writing on the wall.
UPDATE: Jon Swift is relieved that he doesn’t have to care about this, gauging from the blogospheric reaction. Nice tweak, Jon. I don’t see why this issue has to take a partisan bent here in the US, and I don’t think it will.