Suu Kyi’s Detention Extended, Supporters likely to Protest
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Suu Kyi’s Detention Extended, Supporters likely to Protest

By The Irrawaddy Saturday, May 27, 2006


Opposition sources in Rangoon confirmed that the Burmese military regime has extended opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention. Some of Suu Kyi’s supporters are likely to protest, sources added.

The source said that police officers entered Suu Kyi’s lakeside home around 6 pm yesterday and informed her of extension. It is still unclear the extended period of house arrest but the source said that the period is one year.

There is growing security concern that several dozens of Suu Kyi’s supporters will stage a protest to ask for her release. Security outside her home had been stepped up but residents in Rangoon remained calm, opposition sources said.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan who was in Thailand on Friday made a direct appeal to Snr-Gen Than Shwe to release Suu Kyi when her six-month detention order expired this weekend.

Annan said in his written statement, “I take this opportunity to appeal to General Than Shwe and the government to release her...I am relying on you, General Than Shwe, to do the right thing.”

There had been growing optimism as the regime allowed a senior UN official to meet Suu Kyi last weekend in Rangoon.

UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari met Suu Kyi for 45 minutes. The UN envoy also held talks with senior military leaders including Snr-Gen Than Shwe in new administrative city in Pyinmana. Gambari urged Than Shwe to free Suu Kyi.

Suu Kyi has been detained more than 10 of the last 17 years. 

Washington-based US Campaign for Burma released a statement asking the UN to take action on the regime.

“There are already enough reasons for the UN Security Council to get involved in Burma, and the extension of Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention is just one more reason,” said Aung Din, a former political prisoner and policy director for the campaign group.

“Mr Gambari and Kofi Annan should ask the UN Security Council to work toward a resolution requiring an end to attacks on ethnic minorities and the release of all 1,100 political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi.  If the Security Council doesn’t act, many more people will die.”

The news of extension can disappoint governments in the region and it is also likely that the junta’s critics in the west will increase pressure.

Malaysia’s foreign minister Syed Hamid Albar told reporters that he is very surprised and disappointed. “Of course, we are disappointed. Asean has been interacting with them (Burma’s military leaders) for such a long time and has encouraged them (to release Suu Kyi),” state-run Bernama reported today.

Thai Foreign Minister, Kantathi Suphamongkhon also echoed Malaysia minister’s frustration. Burma is a member of Association of Southeast Asia Nations. 

Since yesterday, journalists, city residents, members of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, even Chinese and American diplomats—have gathered near Suu Kyi’s lakeside home at 54 University Avenue Road.

The NLD today marks 16th anniversary of the 1990 election, in which her party won landslide victory, at the party headquarters in Rangoon. The result of the elections is yet to be honored.

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