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More Arrests In Burma

The military junta in Burma continues to arrest those who participated in anti-government protests. Former student leader Htay Kywe has been detained. He was the only remaining leader of a group called the 88 Generation Students Group not in custody. The dissident organization led the protests against sharp fuel price increases in August that grew into huge demonstrations against the oppressive military junta. In late September, government forces opened fire on protesters, killing an untold number of people and beating and detaining thousands.

According to human rights groups, Burmese authorities recently detained three other leading activists, including Thin Thin Aye. Others arrested include Aung Thoo, also of the 88 Generation Students group, and Zaw Htat Ko Ko.

Aung Zaw is editor of the exile magazine Irrawaddy. "The crackdown," he reportedly said, "is quite systematic, to create terror, real terror, among the people. After they put down the monks' protests," said Aung Zaw, "they are just hunting down Htay Kywe and other civilian activists."

United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari is in Southeast Asia in an effort to increase pressure on Burma's government to release all political prisoners and to engage with the democratic opposition.

In a commentary published in the Wall Street Journal newspaper, First Lady Laura Bush called on Burma's generals to "immediately stop their terror campaigns against their own people. They must commit to a meaningful, unrestricted dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and other opposition leaders – including the demonstrating monks, the 88 Generation Students, and members of Ms. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party.” Mrs. Bush said, "The time for a free Burma is now."