Asian Evangelicals Express ‘anguish and shock’ at Burma Violence

( [email protected] ) Oct 04, 2007 02:18 PM EDT

The Evangelical Fellowship of Asia has issued a statement condemning the violence against peaceful protestors in Burma over the last week.

Burma’s military junta has continued a brutal crackdown on Buddhist monks and civilians who have been demonstrating on the streets against decades of military rule and poverty.

According to Reuters news agency, at least eight truckloads of prisoners pulled out of Burma’s largest city Yangon on Wednesday.

The EFA statement read: “It is with deep anguish and shock that we learn of the violent attack on Buddhist monks and civilians who were engaged in a peaceful protest in Burma during the past week.

“We are appalled by the violent repression of unarmed protestors by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and the subsequent raids on Buddhist temples, rounding up Buddhist monks and activists.”

The EFA called upon Burma’s military government to “bring an immediate end to this bloody crackdown and to pursue a path of peaceful dialogue towards democratic governance”.

It also expressed sorrow at the death of the Japanese journalist who was shot while covering the protest.

The EFA said it hoped that the government of General Than Shwe would change course and make way for the creation of lasting peace in Burma.

“Burma today stands at a very crucial juncture in its history. We believe this is a time that can bring about a peaceful and prosperous future for Burma,” it said.

“Towards this end, we hope and pray that the government of General Than Shwe will take substantial steps to usher in a climate of justice and equality.

“We call upon Burma’s military government to actively promote national reconciliation and unity; while desisting from violent repression of her citizens.”

The EFA called on the international community, particularly ASEAN (the Association of South East Asian Nations) countries, to make greater efforts to end the violence in Burma and prompt the Burmese government to implement a new democratic system.