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AP: 191 Arrested in Burma
191 NLDs Arrested in Burma
By ROBERT HORN
Associated Press Writer
RANGOON, Burma (AP) -- Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi said today
the military regime has arrested 191 of her supporters to prevent the most
important meeting of Burma's opposition in six years.
"These people have been arrested mainly because the authorities do not
want a conference that we shall be holding to be a success," Suu Kyi said
at a news conference. "The conference will go on."
Suu Kyi told Voice of America radio on Wednesday that it was "quite
possible" she could be arrested in the nationwide roundup of her supporters
Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, was released in July
after six years of house arrest on allegations she endangered national
security in Burma, also called Myanmar.
The meeting scheduled to begin Sunday at her Rangoon home coincides with
the anniversary of the overwhelming victory of her National League for
Democracy in 1990 parliamentary elections. The regime never let parliament
convene, and the meeting is seen as a symbolic challenge to the
Burma's junta said today it has no immediate plans to arrest Suu Kyi.
Col. Kyaw Win, one of the junta's most powerful figures, said no decision
has been taken on whether to let the meeting take place.
The gathering was to bring together for the first time the opposition
candidates who won 392 of 485 seats in the 1990 elections -- except for
those already jailed, driven into exile or killed.
Kyaw Win confirmed before Suu Kyi's news conference that more than 100
members of the National League for Democracy had been "taken in as a
"They are being treated with dignity and respect as guests of the
government," he said.
Two of Suu Kyi's spokesmen were detained during the sweep.
Rangoon was calm today. Sarong-clad Burmese crowded buses for their
morning commute and showed little overt interest in the confrontation. Few
people ordinarily discuss politics with journalists, fearing arrest.
Suu Kyi's movement says it has no plans to challenge the government in
the streets, wishing to avoid another bloodbath like the pro-democracy
demonstrations in 1988, crushed by troops who killed hundreds of people.
Kyaw Win said the regime feared Suu Kyi was calling the meeting to set
up a parallel government that would cause chaos and unrest.
"What if they take to the streets?" Kyaw Win said. "Economic development
will be stunted and the government will seem weak in the eyes of the ethnic
The regime has reached cease-fires with several guerrilla groups, but
has yet to strike a deal with the Karen National Union, which has fought
for autonomy for the Karen people for decades.
The official New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported Thursday that Karen
rebels planted a land mine that derailed a mail train this week, killing
nine people and injuring seven. Kyaw Win said rebel headquarters denied
responsibility for the blast and that peace negotiations were going