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AP: 300 and Dioplmats Attended the
- Subject: AP: 300 and Dioplmats Attended the
- From: ktint@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Sun, 26 May 1996 08:15:00
Subject: AP: 300 and Dioplmats Attended the NLD Meeting on Sunday
300 and Dioplmats Attended the NLD Meeting on Sunday
By AYE AYE WIN
Associated Press Writer
RANGOON, Burma (AP) -- Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi opened a
meeting of opposition activists as planned Sunday in defiance of the
military government, which arrested scores of people in an effort to
prevent the gathering.
As some 300 supporters of her National League for Democracy interrupted
every sentence with applause and shouts of "Long live Aung San Suu Kyi,"
Suu Kyi demanded that the regime accept the results of 1990 elections won
by the opposition. She also vowed to step up pressure on the military
dictatorship with more high-profile meetings.
The meeting, timed to fall on the anniversary of the elections, opened
on schedule despite further arrests of pro-democracy activists on Saturday.
Suu Kyi said that in all 256 people were detained during the week -- nearly
all of them had planned to attend Sunday's meeting.
During an interview with The Associated Press on Saturday, Suu Kyi
predicted that the military crackdown would backfire, fueling the cause of
"The arrests have very much helped our cause, but I'm afraid it has not
been easy for those that have been arrested," she said.
National League for Democracy officials, meanwhile, said that earlier
reports that one detainee had died in custody were unfounded. Mya Hlaing,
elected to Parliament in 1990, remained alive, they said.
Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her non-violent
promotion of democracy, said at the Sunday meeting that six years of
suffering had only sharpened the appetite of Burma's people for democracy.
"For that reason, the NLD has decided to increase our actions to fulfill
the will of the people and bring about national reconciliation," she said.
Diplomats from the United States, Japan, France, Britain, Australia and
Thailand were in attendance in a show of support.
"It is the duty not only of the people of Burma, but also of the people
of the world to try to bring about the implementation of the results of the
1990 election," Suu Kyi said.
Since her release in July from six years of house arrest, Suu Kyi has
appeared weekly outside the gates of her compound to address followers. On
Saturday, about 5,000 people showed up, twice the usual number -- Suu Kyi
said the turnout was proof that the arrests have galvanized the public.
But Sunday's meeting, held inside the compound, represented the first
time since the 1990 ballot that opposition members who were elected have
gathered in one location.
In Saturday's interview, Suu Kyi said the government had rounded up 256
party supporters, including 232 representatives elected in 1990. After her
party won 392 of 485 contested seats, the military refused to hand over
Suu Kyi said she believes the crackdown has exposed the repressive
nature of the regime.
"There is no despondency. We see this as a time for action, a time for a
lot of intelligent thinking. And it's been a bit exhausting," she said.
She described the government crackdown as an overreaction which "very
much illustrates the heavy hand with which this regime is ruling Burma."
The White House condemned the arrests Saturday, calling on Burma's
military regime to release all detainees immediately.
White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said the United States is
discussing "a coordinated response" to events in Burma with European and
"We again call on the authorities in Burma to engage in a meaningful
political dialogue with the democratic opposition leaders," McCurry said in
a statement. He also urged U.S. citizens to reconsider non-essential travel