Burmese troops again fired on dem-onstrators in Rangoon, and in the south of the country rebels have taken control of a port town, diplomats and Thai officials said Thursday.
Diplomats said the revolt may have gone too far for the army to contain and that Burma Socialist Program Party Chairman Sein Lwin, who took over from the veteran Ne Win on July 26, was in danger of being overthrown.The beleaguered leadership announced on state radio that the premier and army commander would report to the nation later in the day. This was in response to repeated appeals for calm by the predominantly Buddhist country's religious leader, Abhidhaka Maharahta Guru Hlegu Sayadaw.
Hlegu Sayadaw also urged the government "to concede to the demands of the people, which are within the framework of the law as much as possible."
Western diplomats in Rangoon said that as of midday Thursday troops continued to shoot into crowds of civilians demanding the overthrow of Sein Lwin, civil rights and freedom for jailed opposition figures.
The government has said security forces killed 78 people in Rangoon and nearly 30 towns in Burma since Sunday. Diplomats said the death toll was certainly higher.
Hundreds of civilians have been wounded by gunfire and thousands of people have been arrested, the state radio said.
"The people are furious (at the killings). Small bands are roaming Rangoon trying to get their hands on pipes, bricks, Molotov cocktail makings and any other kind of home-made weapon," one envoy said by telephone on Thursday.