After crushing the democracy uprising with guns, Myanmar’s junta switched to an intimidation campaign Wednesday, sending troops to drag people from their homes in the middle of the night and letting others know they were marked for arrest.
Dozens of Buddhist monks jammed Yangon’s main train station after being ordered to vacate their monasteries — centers of the anti-government demonstrations — and told to go back to their hometowns and villages.
Following the night of widespread detentions, military vehicles patrolled the streets in Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city, with loudspeakers blaring a warning: “We have photographs. We are going to make arrests!”
Monks were seen at the railway station and bus drivers were reportedly refusing to take them, out of fear they would not be allowed petrol.
Reports from Rangoon said around 25 more monks were arrested by security forces in a raid on a temple overnight.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported about 80 monks and 149 women believed to be nuns had been freed. They had been rounded up as part of the military's violent crackdown on protesters last week.
Hundreds of monks - who led the protests - have been detained and sources have told the BBC they will be sent to prisons in the far north of the country.
An international aid worker who witnessed the bloody crackdown on weekend pro-democracy demonstrations in Myanmar told CNN she saw bodies lying in the street in front of a pagoda dedicated to world peace, possibly as a warning from the government's security forces.
She said the bodies were near Yangon's Kaba Aye pagoda, a gold-domed Buddhist shrine. Kaba Aye means world peace in Burmese.
Troops in Myanmar hauled away truckloads of people on Wednesday after the departure of a U.N. envoy trying to end a ruthless crackdown on pro-democracy rallies that has sparked international outrage.
Witnesses said at least eight truckloads of prisoners were taken from central Yangon, the former Burma's biggest city, where crowds of up to 100,000 people had protested against decades of military rule and deepening economic hardship.
A staff member of the U.N. Development Fund and her husband and brother-in-law were among those arrested, U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said in New York. The United Nations was appealing to Myanmar's U.N. mission to secure her release.