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AP 5/27 #2

05-27-96 1455EDT =

                                               Burma Activist Heard On Tape=

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

                                               =A0=A0RANGOON, Burma (AP) Wh=
en pro-democracy leader Aung
                                               San Suu Kyi denounced Burma'=
s ruling junta and vowed to
                                               fight it, millions of Burmes=
e too frightened to attend the
                                               speech listened to tape reco=
rdings distributed by her
                                               supporters. =

                                               =A0=A0As long as the general=
s rule the country, Burmese will
                                               never read a speech by Suu K=
yi in the daily newspapers. So
                                               her supporters are spreading=
 Suu Kyi's words on their own. =

                                               =A0=A0As many as 10,000 peop=
le appeared outside Suu Kyi's
                                               home Sunday for her weekly s=
peech the largest crowd since
                                               her release last July from s=
ix years of house arrest and
                                               dozens of them held as many =
as six cassette recorders in
                                               their hands. =

                                               =A0=A0The tapes made it arou=
nd Rangoon by Monday morning, and
                                               others should reach the coun=
tryside in a few days. =

                                               =A0=A0``It was a fantastic s=
peech. She was more defiant than
                                               usual,'' said Thein Nyunt, a=
 30-year-old mechanic. ``I was
                                               too afraid to go. But my fat=
her went and taped it, and I
                                               think it was great.'' =

                                               =A0=A0The tapes also reached=
 the desks of the military regime
                                               formally known as the State =
Law and Order Restoration
                                               Council. On Monday, the stat=
e-controlled press called Suu
                                               Kyi a ``maggot'' and tool of=
 a U.S. conspiracy to colonize
                                               Burma by introducing democra=
cy and human rights. The
                                               people, the press says, love=
 and support the regime. =

                                               =A0=A0The people of Burma ap=
preciate the defiance of the
                                               petite, Oxford-educated Suu =
Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel
                                               Peace Prize for her nonviole=
nt promotion of democracy. =

                                               =A0=A0But they're afraid to =
show too much open support,
                                               remembering that the militar=
y dictatorship gunned down
                                               hundreds of pro-democracy de=
monstrators in 1988. =

                                               =A0=A0Fear runs so deep in R=
angoon that the army hasn't even
                                               felt compelled to call out e=
xtra soldiers, despite the
                                               political tension. As monsoo=
n rains swept the palm-lined
                                               roads Monday, people in the =
city went about business as
                                               usual. =

                                               =A0=A0But some of the few Bu=
rmese willing to speak to
                                               foreigners commented in the =
dank shops and crowded
                                               tearooms that the only topic=
 of conversation was Sunday's
                                               speech. Like Thein Nyunt, th=
ey'd heard it on tape. =

                                               =A0=A0On Sunday, Suu Kyi and=
 fellow leaders of her National
                                               League for Democracy rebuked=
 the authorities for arresting
                                               at least 262 people nearly a=
ll the delegates to the party's
                                               most important conference in=
 six years. They demanded that
                                               the opposition victory in pa=
rliamentary elections in May
                                               1990 finally be recognized. =

                                               =A0=A0``Giving in to bullyin=
g is not good,'' Suu Kyi said. ``We
                                               must have the courage to fac=
e the bully's challenge.'' =

                                               =A0=A0Speaking to reporters =
Monday, Suu Kyi predicted the
                                               military regime would detain=
 some of her jailed supporters
                                               indefinitely and said her pe=
rsonal assistant had been
                                               thrown into a prison known f=
or torture. =

                                               =A0=A0The climate of fear is=
 reflected in Burma's primitive
                                               financial institutions. Ther=
e's not much of a stock market,
                                               but the currency black marke=
t is a fair barometer. =

                                               =A0=A0The official exchange =
rate for Burma's currency, the
                                               kyat, is 6 to $1. On the bla=
ck market, the kyat was recently
                                               trading for 139 to the dolla=
r. Rumors that the military had
                                               blocked streets to Suu Kyi's=
 home caused the kyat to
                                               plummet. =

                                               =A0=A0``Business is bad. I l=
ost 100,000 kyats this weekend,''
                                               said a woman who changes mon=
ey in the back of her grocery
                                               shop. She refused to be iden=
tified. Though the black market
                                               is no secret, it remains ill=
egal. =

                                               =A0=A0``People liked the spe=
ech, but they don't expect any
                                               change,'' said the currency =
trader. ``Nobody can make this
                                               government do anything they =
don't want to do. They have all
                                               the guns.''