After decades of brutal dictatorship, the people of Burma are rising--and they need our help. Today over 100,000 people are on the streets of Rangoon, more around the country. When protesters last marched in 1988, the military massacred thousands.
But this time it can be different--if only the world stands with the marchers. The United Nations summit starts today in New York. Let's raise an emergency global campaign, demanding they press the Burmese generals to negotiate rather than crush the demonstrators. We'll deliver it to Security Council members--particularly China's Hu Jintao, until now the military junta's protector--and to media at the UN this week. Sign our emergency petition supporting the peaceful protests in Burma.
For decades the Burmese dictatorship fought off pressure--imprisoning elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and democracy activists, wiping out thousands of villages in the provinces, bringing miseries from forced labour to refugee camps. One-third of children under 5 now suffer malnutrition; millions are down to one meal a day.
But last Tuesday Buddhist monks and nuns, overwhelmingly respected in Burma, began marching and chanting prayers. The protests spread--now they're growing by tens of thousands every day, as ordinary people, even celebrities and comedians join in. They've broken the chains of fear and given hope to 52 million Burmese.
However, this hope is hanging by a thread. While hesitating to attack the respected monks, the regime is reported to be organising violence. Demonstrators have already been beaten, shots have been fired.
This is one of those moments where the world can make the difference: standing shoulder to shoulder with the Burmese people, helping to shine a dissolving light on tyranny. Let's call on powers at the UN--in particular, China (next year's Olympics host)--to warn the generals that violence will have the gravest consequences, and the time has come for change.
People power is rising through the streets of Burma today. Let the demonstrators know the world is with them.