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Blood, Robes And Tears: A Rangoon Diary

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Photograph for TIME by James NachtweyŚVII

After days of pro-democracy protests brutally suppressed by the junta, Rangoon is quiet. Residents are again going about their daily life, like visiting sacred Buddhist sites

You should get closer," says the young Burmese woman in the crowd behind me. "If foreigners are there they won't shoot." She is terribly wrong.

It's about 1 p.m. on Sept. 27, and I am wedged among thousands of pro-democracy protesters near the golden-domed Sule Pagoda in downtown Rangoon. Facing us are hundreds of soldiers and riot police, who look on edge as they finger their assault rifles. The protesters, mostly ordinary Burmese clad in sarongs and sandals, appear undaunted, even jubilant. Defiantly, they chant a Buddhist mantra whose melody will haunt me for...