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AP 5/27 #3

05-27-96 1034EDT =

                                               Burma Rulers Blast Oppositio=

                                                       By AYE AYE WIN=3D As=
sociated Press Writer=3D =

                                               =A0=A0RANGOON, Burma (AP) Bu=
rma's military rulers denounced
                                               pro-democracy leader Aung Sa=
n Suu Kyi and her followers
                                               as dupes and ``maggots'' for=
 going ahead with the most
                                               important opposition meeting=
 since the junta quashed 1990
                                               elections. =

                                               =A0=A0The regime arrested 23=
8 conference delegates and 24
                                               other party members to try t=
o block Suu Kyi's National
                                               League for Democracy from op=
ening its three-day
                                               conference on Sunday. But ev=
en though only 18 delegates
                                               have made it, the meeting ha=
s proceeded as scheduled. =

                                               =A0=A0Suu Kyi and her follow=
ers said Monday that an unknown
                                               number of the activists arre=
sted last week had been
                                               transferred to a prison noto=
rious for torture. =

                                               =A0=A0In published remarks M=
onday, the junta leader denounced
                                               the meeting and accused the =
opposition of falling prey to
                                               the United States and other =
Western nations that he claims
                                               seek to colonize Burma, also=
 known as Myanmar. =

                                               =A0=A0``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 was
                                               quoted as saying in a speech=
 Sunday at Rangoon University. =

                                               =A0=A0``What they see is the=
 bait and not the hook,'' the
                                               state-run New Light of Myanm=
ar newspaper quoted him
                                               Monday as saying. ``They are=
 doing as dictated.'' =

                                               =A0=A0The same newspaper ran=
 a harsh editorial that called the
                                               pro-democracy movement a for=
                                               conspiracy using ``maggots t=
hat can eat away into the
                                               flesh.'' =

                                               =A0=A0The conference's ultim=
ate objective is to get Burma's
                                               military rulers to accept th=
e results of May 27, 1990,
                                               parliamentary elections that=
 her party overwhelmingly won.
                                               The junta refused to let the=
 parliament convene. =

                                               =A0=A0Monday's conference pr=
oceedings were closed to the
                                               media, but afterward, Suu Ky=
i told reporters that she
                                               suspected the military regim=
e would detain some of her
                                               jailed supporters ``for much=
 longer than we thought they
                                               were going to do.'' =

                                               =A0=A0Some delegates have ha=
d charges filed against them,
                                               likely under emergency power=
s laws that give the regime
                                               the authority to hold people=
 indefinitely for reasons of
                                               national security, Suu Kyi s=
aid. =

                                               =A0=A0The government has not=
 disclosed where it has taken the
                                               detainees. The regime claime=
d last week that they were
                                               only being ``questioned ... =
as guests of the government.''
                                               None is known to have been r=
eleased. =

                                               =A0=A0Suu Kyi, winner of the=
 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, said it
                                               was ``almost certain'' that =
her personal assistant, Win
                                               Htein, and several members o=
f her party's youth wing had
                                               been transferred to the infa=
mous Insein prison near
                                               Rangoon. =

                                               =A0=A0Amnesty International,=
 the London-based human rights
                                               group, reported last year th=
at political prisoners at Insein
                                               were beaten unconscious, mad=
e to crawl over sharp stones
                                               and forced to remain in the =
blazing sun for hours. =

                                               =A0=A0The mass roundup of co=
nference delegates was intended
                                               to stall the meeting, which =
began on the sixth anniversary
                                               of the elections and was see=
n as a symbolic challenge to
                                               the junta's legitimacy. It i=
s the most important gathering
                                               since Suu Kyi was released f=
rom six years of house arrest
                                               in July. =

                                               =A0=A0Suu Kyi defiantly said=
 in her opening conference speech
                                               Sunday the party would hold =
several congresses implicitly
                                               daring the junta to repeat t=
he mass repression and ignite a
                                               new round of world condemnat=