#3. The Saffron Protests
It was the junta-led government's decision to raise the price of fuel and, therefore, the costs of transportation and food staples like rice and cooking oil that sparked the largest protests in Burma, also known as Myanmar, in August and inspired monks to take to the streets en masse a month later. The holy men asked civilians not to join their demonstrations and the government refrained from retaliating. But with tens of thousands of shaved-headed, red-clad monks marching across the country one group of them declaring the military government "the enemy of the people" the junta cracked down. Burmese troops used batons and tear gas on the protesters, raided monasteries and censored the media. The government says 15 people died during the September violence (diplomats say the toll was much higher) and 3,000 were jailed. Many monks have now fled to China and Thailand; though the rallies have ended, arrests are continuing because the U.N. and foreign governments keep pressing the junta to negotiate with the pro-democracy movement.
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