Burmese monks will lead a peaceful march through the town of Mae Sot, on the Thai-Burma border. The march is taking place on September 21st International Peace Day, as well as during the 2nd anniversary of Burma’s Saffron Revolution. Hundreds of people from Thailand and many other countries will also be participating. The march symbolizes solidarity of peoples and faiths working for peace, and an end to nuclear efforts and conflict in Burma.
The peace march will begin at a memorial shrine outside of Mae Sot and then go through the city centre until it reaches the Moei River, the boundary between Thailand and Burma. The march will be quiet, with bells being rung by monks and dove-placards and a banner expressing the Metta Sutra. The Metta Sutra is a prayer for universal love. There will also be an inter-faith prayer service.
Ashin Sopaka, Burmese monk and member of International Burmese Monk Organization (IBMO), said, “I am participating in this march because my life is for peace and justice, nothing more that is my belief. I donate my life for the well being of people of the world. I feel so painful in my heart because of too much violence on our tiny planet, especially in Burma.”
The Saffron Revolution in September 2007 was one of the largest uprisings in Burmese recent history. Monks lead peaceful marches in dozens of cities in Burma, calling for peace and political dialogue. The military regime responded in a brutal crackdown. Violence and restrictions against Burma’s monks has continued. There are currently over 200 monks and nuns still in prison, with arrests still happening. There will be prominent monks from the Saffron Revolution who will participate in the peace walk. “The people of Thailand and throughout the region should support the actions of these courageous monks, who despite much violent pressure continue to work for peace. It is time that leaders of the world should stop saying they support peace and actually act to ensure that peace happens,” said Panithida Phongphaew from Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma.
The peace march is jointly organized by IBMO (International Burmese Monks Organization), TACDB (Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma), INEB (International Network of Engaged Buddhists), BP (Burma Partnership), and the WLB (Women’s League of Burma).
Ashin Sopaka (IBMO): 084 668 3556
Panithida Phongphaew (TACDB): 086 342 3216
Saw San Nyreim Thu (WLB): 080 792 0445