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AP:"Please cheer" for Democracy


 Associated Press Writer

   RANGOON, Burma (AP) -- Burma's military regime adamantly rejected
pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's call for reforms, saying today that
demands that the junta surrender power were "folly."
   Pro-government rallies were orchestrated again today to denounce Suu
Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to bring
democracy to Burma, also known as Myanmar. People were ordered to attend
the rally and cheer on command.
   Suu Kyi led a weekend opposition conference at her home, during which
democracy activists demanded that Burma be governed exclusively by an
elected parliament. The junta that has ruled since 1962 should be
responsible only for defense, the opposition said.
   Suu Kyi's telephone went dead today after she answered a question about
the regime's role in politics during a live radio show on the British
Broadcasting Corp.
   The BBC quoted Suu Kyi as saying afterward: "I hope another live
discussion program can be organized again. After all, I believe in
   The military regime made clear its own position on Suu Kyi and her
National League for Democracy in state-run newspapers.
   "It would be folly to think of sidelining the Tatmadaw, with all its
noble traditions," an editorial said in the New Light of Myanmar. The
Tatmadaw is the armed forces.
   The three-day meeting over the weekend was to have gathered the
pro-democracy candidates elected in a 1990 parliamentary election that the
junta refused to honor. To try to stop the summit, the junta arrested of
the junta, which arrested 238 of the delegates in a nationwide roundup last
   Only 18 delegates eluded arrest and attended the summit, the most
important gathering of opposition activists since Suu Kyi was freed from
six years of house arrest in July.
   The opposition said today that only two arrested delegates were known to
have been released, one because his wife had died. An unknown number have
been reported transferred to a prison near Rangoon that is notorious for
   Conference participants included a demand for the arrested activists'
release in their closing resolutions Tuesday.
   Suu Kyi also announced that the opposition would draft an alternate
constitution separate from one being considered by a government-controlled
   The junta staged mass rallies today to counter any perception of a
public support for Suu Kyi. An estimated 10,000 people attended a rally
Tuesday at a stadium in Thalyi, near Rangoon.
   Reporters were barred, but participants told The Associated Press that
local leaders had required three people from each household to attend. They
cheered only when organizers said, "Please cheer."