Soe Aung of the opposition pro-democracy group National Council of the Union of Burma, declared in a video interview with the BBC, “In our country, the monks are the highest moral authority of the society, and when the monks take the leading role, people will follow eventually.”
Last weekend the All-Burma Monks Alliance invited civilians to join them, and Monday’s demonstration gathered an estimated 100,000 people. The procession departed from the Shwedagon pagoda and gained momentum through the streets of Rangoon. Monks also organized another demonstration through Mandalay.
The Burmese military has warned it is ready to “take action” against Buddhist monks leading the protests. World leaders are urging restraint, but many fear an encore of the 1988 crackdown of protesters, where hundreds died.