( Reuters ) - A global day of demonstrations against Myanmar's violent suppression of pro-democracy protests started in Sydney on Saturday, where around 250 people called for a stronger international response.
"We are united in opposition to the military dictatorship in Burma. It's time for the regime to start reconciliation," said rally organiser Maung Maung Than, 40, calling for pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners to be freed.
Hot weather and a lack of local media coverage may have kept the numbers down at the protest in central Sydney.
It was also calm in comparison to a demonstration in Canberra last week when riot police stopped demonstrators trying to charge the Myanmar embassy.
Than said the protests were also aimed at keeping up the pressure on the international community to act. "The international response is just getting started, it must get a lot stronger."
One banner at the protest called for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics in 2008, reflecting a view that regional powerhouse China should be exerting more pressure on the junta.
A bigger turnout is expected at a protest in Bangkok in Thailand, host to thousands of refugees who have fled from neighbouring Myanmar.
Western powers circulated a draft proposal on Myanmar to the U.N. Security Council in New York on Friday that condemned repression by the junta and demanded it free political detainees and begin dialogue with the opposition.
Myanmar soldiers opened fire last week to clear the streets of the capital Yangon of up to 100,000 Buddhist monks and civilians demanding democracy -- the biggest protests in the country in 20 years.
State media said 10 people were killed, though diplomats believe the real number is likely to be far higher.