Throughout August Burmese pro-democracy activists went into action to resist petrol price hikes. The momentum of these protests gathered through August and in September tens of thousands of Burmese people were taking to the streets to protest directly against the military rule which has dominated the country for 45 years. The State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) military dictatorship, which took power in 1988 by repressing pro-democracy activists, has meted out severe repression, such as shooting protestors and imprisoning thousands more activists additional to the current political prisoners. Buddhist monks were a leading force in the protests of late-September.
While the governments of India and China have competed for military favours from Burma/Myanmar, the international ruling class largely condemns the SLORC government and are calling for sanctions to be imposed. One immediate problem with this is that sanctions will affect the impoverished millions and will not directly effect the dictatorship.