Burmese Protest on East 39th Street

I should really carry my camera every time I leave the co-op.

I took the day off and actually spent most of my time working around the house…you know the drill.  I went out about twice today to pick up supplies, but this evening I decided to go out and grab some dinner and low and behold, I ran into a Burmese protest outside the Eastgate Tower building around 2nd Avenue.  The Foreign Minister of Myanmar (i.e., Burma) spoke today at the United Nations regarding the mass protests and killings that have been occurring there.

Well, the local Burmese population here is making itself heard right outside his living quarters tonight.  As I was walking nearby, I heard loud chanting and made a beeline toward it.  39th Street is pretty narrow and maybe 100 to 150 protestors were on one side of the street spilling onto one lane of the street and were loudly protesting.  They were led by a Burmese monk who must have leather lungs.  On the other side of the street were a contingent of police and security people lined up and looking pretty calm about it.  In fact, I didn’t get any sort of frisson of danger or anything.  It was loud, but polite.  That’s not to say there wasn’t anxiety.  I talked to two protestors and they both seemed more weary and afraid of what’s happening back in their homes.  One guy was particularly interesting.  He was pretty tired and sat down on a sort of stoop area next to a tree and started saying how he never, ever does this sort of thing; but he couldn’t avoid protesting this time.  He said that right now is the time that will make or break the hold over his homeland.

The Eastgate towers is pretty large, maybe 45 stories.  I doubt anybody knows if the Foreign Minister even has a view of the group, but I guarantee he’s aware of it.

In truth, there was nothing particularly special about the protest, but at least they weren’t being shot; unlike what’s happening in Burma.  The pictures wouldn’t have been especially interesting, but that’s how these sorts of things go.

Incidentally, all of the protestors were using the term “Burma”.  Good for them.

-H

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