Myanmar Refugees Flood Thailand

by
staphni
"(NYTIMES)
Clashes between an ethnic rebel group in Myanmar and government soldiers have pushed a flood of at least 10,000 refugees across a river into Thailand, one day after Myanmar held its first election in 20 years.

In the attack, ethnic Karen rebels seized a police station and post office Sunday in the border town of Myawaddy, wounding at least 10 people on both sides of the river, according to reports from the border.

The fighting continued Monday, a reminder of a long-running civil war with a number of ethnic groups that has raged for decades in remote mountains and jungles in the former Burma, far from the politics that consume the cities.

As partial results of Sunday’s vote appeared in state-run media, it was clear that military-backed parties would take the majority of the seats in Parliament, as the junta had clearly intended when it set the rules for the election and the parties.

If the results were expected, condemnation from Western nations also followed the pattern of reactions to earlier actions by the military leaders, who are expected to retain power behind the facade of a civilian government.

“It is unacceptable to steal elections, as the regime in Burma has done again for all the world to see,” said President Obama in a speech to India’s Parliament, in his second condemnation in two days.

Earlier this year, his administration had said it would attempt a new policy of engagement rather than isolation of the generals, but it has met with little substantive response. Statements by Mr. Obama and by others in Washington suggest that this policy is under strain. "