Burmese monks 'to be sent away'
Thousands of monks detained in Burma's
main city of Rangoon will be sent to prisons in the far north
of the country, sources have told the BBC.
About 4,000 monks have been rounded up
in the past week as the military government has tried to stamp
out pro-democracy protests.
They are being held at a disused race
course and a technical college.
Sources from a government-sponsored militia
said they would soon be moved away from Rangoon.
The monks have been disrobed and shackled,
the sources told BBC radio's Burmese service. There are reports
that the monks are refusing to eat.
The country has seen almost two weeks
of sustained popular unrest, in the most serious challenge to
the military leadership for more than two decades.
The authorities said 10 people were killed
as the protests were dispersed, though diplomats and activists
say the number of dead was many times higher.
The banned opposition broadcaster Democratic Voice of Burma has
issued a picture which they say shows the body of a monk floating
near the mouth of the Rangoon river.
Last week several monasteries were raided, and there were reports
of monks being beaten and killed.
With many monks behind bars, the demonstrations have now died
On Monday, the centre of Rangoon was almost back to normal, a
reporter, who cannot be identified for security reasons, told
Most shops and temples have reopened and people appear to be getting
on with their lives. But there seemed to be a group of soldiers
around every corner, and very few monks about, the reporter said.
This is notable in a city where monks can usually be spotted going
in and out of temples, shopping at street stalls and chatting
in tea shops.
The atmosphere in Rangoon is tense, the reporter said. Local people
are well aware that the monks have been locked away and are afraid
that they will be next.
The crackdown, in which unarmed protesters were beaten, tear-gassed,
and shot at, has attracted condemnation from abroad, and even
from Burma's neighbours in the Association of South East Asian
Envoy still waiting
As well as preventing the demonstrations, the military junta has
tried to block news of the unrest filtering out. Troops are stopping
young men on the streets and in cars, searching for cameras that
may be used to smuggle out images.
Most internet links are still down and mobile phone networks disrupted.
Official media has been warning Burmese people against co-operating
with or using foreign news outlets.
A TV message on Monday referred to the BBC, Voice of America and
Radio Free Asia as "assassins on air".
UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari was set to meet Burma's military
leader General Than Shwe on Tuesday, officials said.
On Saturday, when Mr Gambari travelled to the new capital Naypidaw,
he was allowed to meet only more junior members of the government.
On Sunday, Mr Gambari held talks with detained opposition leader
Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon - the first foreigner to be permitted
to do so for 10 months.