Junta Thugs Confront Suu Kyi Supporters Demanding Her Release
covering burma and southeast asia
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Burma

Junta Thugs Confront Suu Kyi Supporters Demanding Her Release


By Aye Aye Win/AP Writer/Rangoon, Burma Monday, May 28, 2007


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Pro-junta thugs confronted hundreds of supporters of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, threatening and preventing them from marching to a prayer vigil for the detained Nobel laureate, witnesses said.

Holding photos of the 61-year-old, about 500 members of her National League for Democracy party shouted "Free Aung San Suu Kyi" as they staged a rally Sunday outside the party's headquarters in Burma’s largest city, Rangoon.

 

The supporters had intended to go o­n to a Buddhist pagoda in downtown Rangoon to pray for Suu Kyi's release, but were blocked by about 100 supporters of the junta, leading to a tense stand off, witnesses said.

The junta supporters shouted abuse at the other side for about 15 minutes, and o­ne NLD elected member was dragged away by them, witnesses said, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

"Please understand that we are not frightened by your threats ... we will proceed with peaceful gatherings," Min Ko Naing, a prominent anti-government activist, was quoted as telling the junta supporters. "We can pray for her from here," he said from outside the NLD head office.

Police vans were parked nearby. The rally ended peacefully.

The junta is also believed to be holding about 1,200 political prisoners, most of them elected members of the NLD.

"Release immediately and unconditionally all political prisoners of conscience including members of parliament who are imprisoned for their beliefs," the NLD said in a statement.

The rally came two days after the junta extended Suu Kyi's house arrest for a fifth year. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has spent more than 11 of the past 17 years in detention.

Authorities have since beefed up security near Suu Kyi's lakeside residence and extended barbed wire barricades o­n her street. Her street was closed to traffic and police with batons were deployed near roadblocks.

Meanwhile, pro-democracy activists urged the military junta to accept the results of the 1990 election o­n Sunday—the 17th anniversary of the ballot, in which Suu Kyi's party won an overwhelming victory. The results were rejected by the military regime, saying it first needed to draft a constitution. It has never been completed.

Suu Kyi has been held continuously since May 30, 2003, when her motorcade was attacked by a pro-junta mob during a political tour of northern Burma. The government considers her a threat to public order.

The military took power in 1988 after crushing vast pro-democracy demonstrations in Burma. When Suu Kyi's party won a general election by a landslide o­n May 27, 1990, junta leaders refused to hand over power, insisting the country first needed a new constitution.

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