Myanmar violence blamed on 'opportunists'

Updated: 2007-10-02 09:05

United Nations -- Myanmar Foreign Minister U Nyan Win on Monday blamed the crackdown against anti-government protesters in his country on "political opportunists" backed by "some powerful countries".

"The situation would not have deteriorated had the initial protest of a small group of activists against the rise in fuel prices not been exploited by political opportunists," he told the UN General Assembly here.

He said those "opportunists ... aided and abetted by some powerful countries" also took advantage of protests "staged initially by a small group of Buddhist clergy demanding apology for maltreatment of fellow monks by local authorities."

The minister asserted that Myanmar security forces showed "utmost restraint" and did not intervene for nearly a month.

He said authorities were then compelled to declare a curfew "when the mob became unruly and provocative."

"When protestors ignored their warning, they (security forces) had to take action to restore the situation. Normalcy has now returned in Myanmar," he added.

Nyan Win portrayed the turmoil as part of "neo-colonialist attempts" to impose Western-style democracy on Myanmar.

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