Frédéric Sautereau

Burma. October 2007.

Since the 1962 coup d'état, the Burmese military has been in control of the country’s main sources of wealth. They confiscate lands and goods and force hard labour onto the population. In power since 1989, the junta maintains martial law and continues to oppress the Burmese. One third of the population lives under the poverty line while a third of children suffer from malnutrition. The September 2007 protests that denounced massive increases of fuel and public transportation costs were brutally repressed. Murder, disappearances and illegal confinements were among other atrocities that accompanied the protests. The bonzes, a population that survives mainly from food and money from the local Burmese have joined the movement against the government. But in the face of an invisible and tyrannical dictatorship, civilians remain frightful. The bonzes, an intricate part of the Burmese society have all but disappeared. According to witnesses, many members of this community have been forcibly sent back to their villages by the army in order to suppress any form of revolt. Other members remain clandestinely in the cities and live in constant fear of arrest.

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