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As anti-coup protests continue, where are Myanmar's monks?

Ignoring history, some prominent Buddhist clergy have sided with the military

CHIANG MAI, Thailand -- In the days following Myanmar's Feb. 1 coup, social media abounded with scenes of angry protesters and brutal security forces. Among them were pictures of Buddhist monks, often standing silently with candles or marching with placards denouncing the military.

But monks have played a far less prominent part in the events of 2021 than in previous anti-military protests, when they were often in the front lines, reflecting their deeply ingrained role in the lives of Myanmar's people and their sympathy with popular opposition to the army, which has clung to power for most of the past six decades.

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