Since September 17th–the deadline given by Buddhist monks for the government to apologize for the violence used to break up a peaceful protest on September 5–the monks have been holding daily protests, continuing to speak out against the military regime and the dramatic increase in the cost of living they recently imposed.
The protests have been very concise since then. Every day, Buddhists have gathered and protested for only a few short hours at a time, hoping to avoid a high concentration of people which would likely evoke a response from the military.
This strategy was working fine up until this weekend; but then the number of protesters jumped forward–from 1700 on Friday to over 50,000 today.
This has clearly made the military regime uneasy. In fact they likely think it’s beginning to look like a popular uprising, because the military put out a response today, choosing words reminiscent of those used in 1988–the year the military committed an offensive against the people which left some 3,000 people dead. Today, they threatened the Buddhists will be “faced with the law” if they do not stop protesting.
Despite this ominous step forward, protests are likely going to continue–if only because the dramatic increase of prices has effectively disabled thousands; making it impossible to travel, communicate, and have their needs met.