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Myanmar police arrest dozens as protest crackdown continues

[JURIST] Myanmar police arrested dozens of people for questioning during nighttime raids late Wednesday night as the government continues its crackdown on dissidents. Also Wednesday, monks crowded into train stations after being ordered to leave their monasteries and return to their hometowns. Police arrested dozens of monks [JURIST report] last week in response to widespread anti-government protests, led by the monks and joined by thousands of other citizens, sparked by a sharp increase in fuel prices in August. The government tolerated the anti-government protesters for a month, but last week, the military government banned public gatherings [JURIST report] of more than five people and imposed a curfew. At least eight people were killed when police opened fire on protesters [JURIST report] last week. AP has more.

US President George W. Bush last week announced US sanctions against Myanmar [speech text, PDF; JURIST report], supplementing the current visa ban on alleged perpetrators of human rights abuses. Myanmar has been governed without a constitution since the military regime took power in 1988. Talks on a new national charter [JURIST report] have been underway for 14 years. It is not yet clear who will draft the actual constitution or how that process will occur, but the Myanmar government has pledged to put the resulting document to a vote in a national referendum.

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