YANGON: Hundreds of demonstrators, undaunted by the arrests of at least 13 top pro-democracy activists, marched on Wednesday to protest massive hikes in the price of fuel, taking their challenge to Myanmar’s military government to the streets for the second time this week.

About 300 protesters walked from the northern outskirts of the commercial capital Yangon, encouraging onlookers to join their display of public opposition, witnesses said on condition of anonymity. “We are marching to highlight the economic hardship that Myanmar people are facing now, which has been exacerbated by the fuel price hike,” a protester who identified herself only as Mimi told onlookers.

The demonstration came after the arrests of leaders of the “88 Generation Students” group on Tuesday night, who have been defying the junta’s grip by spearheading petition campaigns, prayer vigils and other actions to free political prisoners — including Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi — and promote a return to democracy.

Protesters held

“Though our leaders had been arrested, we will continue with our movement. We will not fear any arrest or threat,” Mie Mie, a member of the 88 Generation group, said during the morning march, which was watched by plainclothes police officers.

But protesters cut short their march after unidentified men from a mob of junta supporters took at least eight protesters away in cars. They were taken to a security office, accused of agitating the crowd, and held for several hours for questioning before being released, said one of them, Naw Ohn Hla. — AP