First rule of crisis management: contain the problem. Whatever you do, don't make it worse. Apparently, the ongoing protests in Burma had nearly petered out before the regime made the mistake of annoying the country's Buddhist monks. (Beating several and reportedly killing one.) Now they've got thousands of people in the streets, and any crackdown will echo around the world. Oops.
(Nor is the short term success of any such crackdown a foregone conclusion. In a devoutly Buddhist country, ordering soldiers to attack unarmed monks chanting loving kindness mantras is problematic, to say the least.)