In Rangoon, the demonstrations continue and the repression hardens but elsewhere, the situation is different. So describes Cyril Payen, France 24 Correspondent, in a village in the south of the country.
Having entered secretly this nation where terror reigns, Cyril Payen prefers to keep his whereabouts hush-hush. He will only say that he is in a village area in the southwest; occupied by an obedient Buddhist militia, allied with the military junta.
And if it would appear that being so close to Thailand, the inhabitants ought to be enjoying a degree of liberty to speak, this is no longer the case.
In this rural region marked by extreme poverty, there are no demonstrators to be seen. And according to Payen, "one can report that the repressive appartus of the Burmese junta is working perfectly." In effect, no one knows, or at least won't say, what is happening in Rangoon or Mandalay. When asked by the France 24 correspondent, the inhabitents who live 300 km from the demonstrations replied that they " don't know anything, are not politically-minded, and in any case, they support the government," according to Payen. Nonetheless, says Peyen, they do listen to the news on the radio.
Only the milita who surround the journalist are willing to be interviewed. When he asked them what they thought, as Buddhists, of the fact that the junta had shot monks, they replied that it was not the monks who were demonstrating, but rather people desguised as monks, paid by powerful westerners to plant the seeds of chaos in the country. "And one sees there all the effects of propaganda," states Payen.
According to Payen, one can expect a hardening of the repression, as the soldiers have already been summoned to several fronts to return to Rangoon, as the militia with whom they find themselves have received official commands to go to the capital.
Date created : 2007-09-28