NEW YORK, Sept. 25 — President Bush announced today that the United States was taking a series of steps to tighten economic sanctions on Myanmar’s leaders and their backers and would impose a visa ban on the leaders and their families.
Mr. Bush, who has spoken out frequently on Myanmar, was addressing the opening day of the United Nations General Assembly here in New York. His remarks coincided with the eighth day of peaceful antigovernment protests in Myanmar, led by Buddhist monks in the main city of Yangon and in other cities. “Americans are outraged by the situation in Burma where a military junta has imposed a 19-year reign of fear,” said Mr. Bush, using the former name of the country. The protests in Myanmar are taking place under the shadow of the possibility of a violent crackdown. In 1988, some 3,000 people were killed when the military crushed larger pro-democracy protests. Although some reports have said that truckloads of soldiers moved into position at one point during the protests in Yangon today, the day’s protests have dispersed without incident.
Since 1988, Myanmar has become the focus of international condemnation for its abuses of human and political rights and its treatment of the pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest in Yangon for 12 of the past 18 years.