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AP: The Send Day of the NLD's Succe
- Subject: AP: The Send Day of the NLD's Succe
- From: ktint@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 27 May 1996 06:14:00
Subject: AP: The Send Day of the NLD's Successful Congress
Thhe Send Day of the NLD's Successful Congress
By AYE AYE WIN
Associated Press Writer
RANGOON, Burma (AP) -- Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi opened the
second day of her opposition party's congress today, while Burma's military
rulers denounced her and her followers as dupes and "maggots" for going
ahead with the meeting.
The junta had staged mass arrests of delegates to try to block the
congress, the most important gathering of Suu Kyi's National League for
Democracy since she was released in July from six years of house arrest.
Proceedings were closed to the press, but she promised to talk to reporters
Opposition members also said today that an unknown number of the 262
delegates and party members arrested last week had been transferred to the
notorious Insein Prison near the capital, Rangoon. Human rights groups say
political prisoners at Insein are routinely tortured.
Suu Kyi, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, opened the congress
Sunday despite the arrests of 238 congress delegates and 24 other party
members. She said the nationwide roundup was designed to prevent the
meeting; only 17 delegates were able to attend.
Wearing a traditional sarong, her hair tied back in jasmine flowers, Suu
Kyi spoke from her home, at a bamboo-and-thatch pavilion built especially
for the event. Banners displayed her party's emblem, a fighting peacock.
Some 300 supporters applauded every sentence and chanted "Long Live Aung
San Suu Kyi."
In a speech Sunday at Rangoon University, the leader of Burma's military
government, the State Law and Order Restoration Council, or SLORC,
denounced the opposition meeting. He accused the opposition of falling prey
to the United States and other Western nations, who he claimed seek to
colonize Burma, which the military calls Myanmar.
"There is a group of persons in Myanmar swaying to the enticement of a
big nation, which is attempting to bring Myanmar under its influence
through the pretext of democracy and human rights," Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt
said, in comments carried today in the state-run newspaper New Light of
Myanmar. "What they see is the bait and not the hook. They are doing as
The same newspaper ran a harsh editorial that called the pro-democracy
movement a foreign-orchestrated conspiracy using "maggots that can eat away
into the flesh."
It was impossible to confirm opposition claims that some detainees had
been transferred to Insein Prison. The regime claimed last week that those
detained were only being "questioned ... as guests of the government" at
undisclosed locations. None is known to have been released.
Amnesty International, the London-based human-rights group, reported
last year that at least 800 political prisoners were being held at Insein.
Interrogators reportedly beat prisoners unconscious, made them crawl over
sharp stones and forced them to remain in the blazing sun for hours.
In her comments Sunday, Suu Kyi said overriding goal of the congress is
to get the military rulers to accept the results of 1990 elections, in
which her party took 392 of 458 contested seats. The military rulers
refused to let the parliament convene.
Suu Kyi said the congress would be the first in a series of party
gatherings -- the next could be held within a few months, she said.
She also took time out from the conference to make her weekly address to
the public. Some 8,000 people -- the biggest crowd in years -- gathered
outside the gates of her compound.
Authorities made no move to interfere with the crowd. The only security
forces visible were traffic police guiding vehicles away from the throng,
which remained peaceful.
More lively than usual, the crowd clapped and cheered as Suu Kyi and
other opposition leaders said they had grown tired of waiting for the
military regime to meet their appeals for dialogue.
"The SLORC should make up all the promises they have broken," Suu Kyi
said. "It's time they changed their ways. It's better late than never."
Even so, she held out an olive branch to the junta.
"We not only invite the people of our country, but also the authorities,
to join us," Suu Kyi said. "Because that is the only way we can bring good
and happiness to our land."