Protests against the ruling military junta in Burma have been increasing in size over the weekend. Protests have been taking place since mid-August after the junta doubled fuel prices, and demonstrations involving Buddhist monks and nuns have been on the rise since monks were hurt in a crackdown on 5 September.
On Saturday 1000 marched in the city of Rangoon, visiting the home of Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader who has been under house arrest for much of the past two decades. Yesterday 20,000 monks and nuns marched in Rangoon in the largest protest for almost 20 years, and reports today suggest that as many as 30,000 have taken to the streets.
In our May/June issue the novelist Karen Connelly examined the resistance of Buddhist monks and nuns to the Burmese dictatorship, and asked whether Buddhism should be considered a form of humanism. She argues that while Buddhism is fatalistic, deeply misogynistic and riven with superstition, it also inspires resistance to tyranny and the fight for freedom.