|Image: A protester sits at the feet of police|
reciting prayers from a book in defiance of
regime orders to clear the streets and return
Regime police, notorious for their brutality and already guilty of killing several protesters as well as overseeing brazen broad daylight assassinations targeting protest leaders, came out into the streets with military M16 service rifles, shotguns, and body armor - only to be met by monks and protesters sitting in the streets with prayer books.
The operation attempted to clear encampments - some of which were partially destroyed and looted by regime police, but by afternoon, thousands of additional protesters began gathering opposite the police who eventually retreated in yet another display of bungling incompetence. Protesters voluntarily left another encampment near Government House, before police moved in to clear the area.
It should be noted that the current regime oversaw sham elections in which not even 50% participated, with many who did, defacing ballots and marking "no vote" in protest of the process. With no mandate to run the country, and with segments of its own support base joining the protests, it hardly possesses the legitimacy or justification to use deadly force - or any force for that matter - against growing dissent.
Image: Regime gunmen, in similar garb seen on December 26, when they gunned down one of their own officers and a protester during clashes, appeared again on the streets today, heavily armed and prepared to apply disproportionate force against unarmed protesters who sat in the streets and read from prayer books (as instructed to by protest leaders).