Myanmar releases over 400 monks

Updated: 2007-10-06 15:20

YANGON -- The Myanmar authorities have released 404 monks out of 513, who were taken away by the security forces for questioning during recent raids on 18 monasteries in the country's biggest city of Yangon, according to state-run press media Saturday.

The release up to Friday also included one novice, 158 men and 30 women during the raids, the New Light of Myanmar said, adding that 109 other monks and 9 men are still held for interrogation.

The 18 monasteries, on which the security forces carried out search, were in 8 townships in the city, it also said, adding that the operation uncovered some anti-government materials.

The report accused the head monks of these 18 monasteries of leading, generating, participating and supporting the demonstrations.

The report also charged with presence of some bogus monks in these monasteries.  

Meanwhile, the Myanmar authorities said earlier that it has freed so far 692 other people out of 2,093 arrested for their involvement in the protest despite curfew and a ban of demonstration.  

The situation in Yangon has been calm since last weekend following the imposition on September 25 of a 60-day curfew order and a ban of demonstration in the city.

A compiled statistics based on official figures show that 10 protestors have been killed and 16 other civilians injured by shots fired by the security forces, while 45 government security forces members wounded during clashes amid the ban.

Since September 18, Buddhist monks and people had taken to the streets to stage peaceful demonstrations in Yangon and other parts of the country, demanding that the government lower commodity prices, improve people's living conditions and seek national reconciliation.

The authorities charged the demonstrations and later unrest with being stirred up by anti-government internal and external groups as well as some foreign broadcasting stations.

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