Die-hard protesters waved the peacock flag of the crushed pro-democracy movement on a solitary march Saturday through the eerily quiet streets of Myanmar's largest city, where many dissidents said they were resigned to defeat without international intervention.
Housewives and shop owners taunted troops but quickly disappeared into alleyways. According to diplomats briefed by witnesses, residents of three neighborhoods blocked soldiers from entering the monasteries in a crackdown on Buddhist monks, who led the largest in a month of demonstrations. The soldiers left threatening to return with reinforcements.
The top U.N. envoy on Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, arrived in the country but many protesters said they were nonetheless seeing a repeat of the global reaction to a 1988 pro-democracy uprising, when the world stood by as protesters were gunned down in the streets.
"Gambari is coming, but I don't think it will make much of a difference," said one hotel worker, who like other residents asked not to be named, fearing retaliation. "We have to find a solution ourselves."