The Struggle for Power

By The Irrawaddy

August 17, 2007—While Burma's junta sells off the country's energy assets to foreign customers, the Burmese people are experiencing a further round of draconian fuel price rises that have given a new twist to spiraling inflation.

The previously-unannounced fuel price rises, of up to 500 percent, came into effect at state-owned gas stations on Wednesday, catching the public completely by surprise. No reason was given for the increases.

Fuel prices on the black market also jumped. The cost of rice and other commodities is also expected to rise again.

The increases hit the traveling public particularly badly, with parallel rises in bus fares. Many buses and taxis that use diesel and compressed natural gas stayed off the road, adding to the overcrowding on the buses that stayed in service.

The chaotic situation is summed up in this photo essay, with images illustrating the difficulty of living in a mismanaged economy run by a capricious and inefficient regime.

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