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Auckland Gathering Condemns Burma's Military Junta

Auckland Gathering Condemns Burma's Military Junta

By Keira Stephenson – AUT University Journalism Student

About 50 Burmese refugees, monks and representatives from Muslim and Christian churches gathered outside Aotea Square in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday to ask for help for their cyclone devastated country.

They waved independence flags and placed roses in front of images of destruction caused by cyclone Nargis which has claimed an estimated 78,000 lives since it hit southern Burma on May 2.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

One protester, Eye Eye Mew, was working as a government accountant before coming to New Zealand five and a half years ago. She says she couldn’t stand the corruption in her country any longer.

Now she has no money and no passport to go back to look for her family who come from the worst hit area in Burma...

She has been unable to get in touch with anyone from her village on the Irrawaddy delta, but heard from a relative in Rangoon that everything had been destroyed.

“Only three houses were left in the whole village,” she says.

“I worry every day but I can’t do anything. Even if they have survived the cyclone they have no food or clean water. How can they stay alive?”

She was joined by others, who had fled Burma after the 1988 student uprising, in criticising Burma’s internationally condemned military Junta for stalling much needed foreign aid at the border and doing little or nothing to stem the suffering themselves.

“They are not human. They are evil,” she says.

On Wednesday the French Government suggested the United Nations should bypass the Junta and just take aid into Burma without their permission, under the "Responsibility to Protect" doctrine.

She urged everyone to sign a petition to send to Prime Minister Helen Clark and other U.N. members asking that they take up France’s suggestion and begin humanitarian intervention immediately.


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