A First-Hand Report From Burma
One of our employees here at GOOD is from Burma. He sent along this first-hand report and photos from the clash between monks and the military at a monastery in Rangoon last night.More photos below the text.About 100 monks and laymen were arrested last night following a brutal attack by the military..
One of our employees here at GOOD is from Burma. He sent along this first-hand report and photos from the clash between monks and the military at a monastery in Rangoon last night.
More photos below the text.
About 100 monks and laymen were arrested last night following a brutal attack by the military at Ngway Kyar Yan Monastery in South Okkalapa township in Yangon, Myanmar.
"Many spots of blood could still be seen in the morning in the monastery compound and nearby," one witness said. "It's very terrible – I can't believe what's happening in this world."
Eyewitnesses said three trucks filled with soldiers arrived at the monastery at about 12:15am on September 27. When the monks refused the soldiers' demand to open the gate, a fight broke out in which both sides hurled bricks at each other for about 20 minutes.
The soldiers eventually crashed through the gate with one of the trucks and used bamboo sticks to beat everyone in the monastery – including monks, laymen, women and children, some of whom were related to or were under the care of the head abbot, or sayadaw.
One witness said the soldiers shouted "harsh, abusive words" at the monks while they were beating them. One monk who had tried to warn the monastery of the soldiers' approach was beaten unconscious as he lay on the ground.
Another witness said the soldiers were led by a two-star general who beat some of the soldiers who were reluctant to harm the monks.
The attack lasted about 90 minutes, ending when about 60 monks and 40 laypeople were tossed into waiting trucks and driven to an unknown destination.
Broken glass and monks' robes could be seen scattered on the ground after the soldiers departed.
"The army stole everything from the monastery – cassette players, radios, money that had been donated, everything they could take," one witness said.
Among the arrestees were the second chief of the monastery, Sayadaw U Uttama, and another senior sayadaw, U Dhammadainna.
However, the head sayadaw, who is a member of the State
Sangamahanayaka Committee, was meditating in a hidden location in the monastery at the time of the assault and escaped arrest, as did a number of monks who were able to flee the soldiers.
People in the neighbourhood around the monastery gathered in the compound at dawn, many of them breaking into tears when they saw the devastation the military had left behind.
"It's impossible to believe that the government would brutalize the holy monks who represent our religion in this way," one bystander said.
Unconfirmed reports also circulated that soldiers had also raided monasteries around Moe Gound Pagoda in Yangon.
Both incidents raised the ire of monks throughout the city.
"The government is not doing this for stability. This is sacrilege directed at the religion we believe in," one Buddhist said.
Photos by MoeMaKa Volunteer Reporters inside Rangoon