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Thai Crackdown on Burmese pro-democ

Subject: Thai Crackdown on Burmese pro-democracy dissidents

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Burmese dissident groups in Japan responded swiftly by
condemning Thailand's November 28th arrests of veteran
journalist U Ye Gyaung, 75, and dissident students attempting
to stage a peaceful hunger strike in support of Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi and her recent decision to boycott SLORC's
convention, which she has frankly characterized as
undemocratic and a sham.  

Members of Burmese Relief Center--Japan and International
Network for Burma Relief expressed their support for the
recently arrested Burmese in Bangkok and urged Thailand to
stop supporting the military junta SLORC, which is brutally
oppressing ordinary Burmese citizens.  They also voiced
concern for the health of U Ye Gyaung, chief writer for the
well-respected New Era Journal, a politically sophisticated
newspaper distributed world-wide, including Japan.

Some of the students,  reportedly already accepted as refugees
by Australia, were beginning a hunger strike to draw attention
to the critical situation inside Burma and to show support for
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for
Democracy party which is courageously risking retaliation
from the SLORC junta by refusing to take part in the so-called
national convention.  Others, ironically, were arrested at
UNHCR offices in Bangkok, the place they should be the

While the Thai authorities may be currying favor with the
SLORC before the visit of Khin Nyunt and Than Shwe to
Bangkok, these arrests are shortsighted and regrettable.  As
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has pointed out, Thailand and Burma
are neighbors, yet Thailand's treatment of honorable, peaceful
Burmese patriots is harsh and unfair, and the military seems
intent on propping up the SLORC for the business
opportunities it provides them personally.  Many Burmese
want to believe that ordinary Thais are sympathetic to their
plight, but they have yet to hear any expression of public

The pro-democracy groups in Japan urge the Thai government
to immediately release U Ye Gyaung, his wife, and the
Burmese students, and to cease its blatant support for the
SLORC military dictatorship in its oppression of the Burmese

For more information, contact:

Dr. Kyaw Tint
International Network for Burma Relief