[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

Reuters 5/28 04:10

RANGOON (Reuter) - Burma's revitalised democracy movement
led by Aung San Suu Kyi wrapped up a controversial congress
Tuesday with several resolutions likely to infuriate the
country's military rulers.
         The National League for Democracy (NLD) resolutions, making
good on a promise to step up the fight for democracy, came as
the military government followed up its mass detentions of NLD
supporters by launching public rallies and attacks on Suu Kyi.
         Between 300 and 400 NLD members, seemingly oblivious to how
the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) may
react, broke into fighting cheers and chants as they listened to
rallying music at the end of the three-day congress.
         Their most controversial resolution was likely to be one
giving the NLD leadership the power to draft a new constitution
for Burma.
         ``The conference authorised the executive committee to draw
up a constitution for the future Union of Burma. We must start
to work as soon as we can. It doesn't take long to draw up a
constitution if you have the will,'' Suu Kyi told reporters.
         The NLD angered the SLORC in November when it pulled out of
a government-organised convention drafting guidelines of a new
constitution. It said the convention, meeting intermittently
since January 1993, did not represent the will of the people.
         The SLORC sees the convention as the backbone of its plans
for the country and has ordered delegates to enshrine a
``leading role'' for the military in politics.
         Suu Kyi said the NLD congress called for a future Burma that
would be ruled by a parliament of elected representatives.
         Under the constitution being drafted by the government's
convention the ``leading role'' of the armed forces would be
backed up by a guaranteed large portion of appointed seats in
         ``We want the army to be an honorable institution
responsible for the defense of the nation and of democratic
principles,'' Suu Kyi said of the role of the military in a
future democracy.
         When asked if the NLD realised its resolutions were likely
to infuriate the SLORC, Suu Kyi said the military saw everything
she and her party did as confrontational.
         ``There is nothing in the law that says you have no right to
draw up a constitution that you think would be for the good of
the country,'' she said.
         ``They regard everything we do as confrontational. Anything
that is not in line with their politics is regarded as
confrontational,'' she said.
         Tuesday, the government lashed out at Suu Kyi and the NLD in
the state-run media, calling them ``public enemies'' who should
be ``crushed'' for trying to destabilise the country.
         In rallies held Monday and set to continue Tuesday and the
rest of the week, tens of thousands of people chanted slogans
calling Suu Kyi and the NLD ``traitors'' and ``enemies,'' state
media reported.
         Government-organised rallies are often staged in Burma with
the military forcing people to attend, diplomats say.
         Suu Kyi, who was released last July after six years of house
arrest, said the NLD also passed resolutions urging the SLORC to
release all political prisoners and to free 261 NLD members it
detained last week in a bid to scuttle the congress.
         The SLORC said it has not arrested the NLD members but only
detained them for questioning temporarily in an effort to avoid
anarchy whicb it said could have resulted from the congress.
         NLD deputy secretary general Tin Oo told reporters at least
nine of the detained NLD members had now been charged by the
government under sweeping security laws.