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Junta gets people to barricade Suu
Subject: Junta gets people to barricade Suu Kyi's house (The Asian Age, 13/7/97.)
Junta gets people to barricade Suu Kyi's house
The Asian Age, 13/1/97 (New Delhi)
Rangoon, Jan. 12: Burmese authorities mobilised civilians rather than
armed riot police on Sunday to keep crowds of Aung San Suu Kyi supporters
from gathering near a busy intersection in Rangoon, the witnesses said.
Dozens of men in civilian clothes, wearing yellow armbands saying "on
duty for the people," were stationed near a busy intersection where the
Opposition National League for . Democracy leader's supporters have been
gathering on weekends.
The men approached people in the area and asked them to move on,
performing the same function that three truckloads of armed riot police
had on the previous day.
NLD supporters, spread out along the street over about 100 metres,
quickly converged along with bystanders and photo-snapping military
intelligence officers when NLD vice-chairman Tin Oo made an appearance.
"I come here at the bidding of Aung San Suu Kyi, who sends her best
wishes and thanks you for your support," Mr Tin Oo said.
As the men with yellow armbands approached, Mr Tin Oo told the crowd they
should leave the area to avoid giving any excuses to security forces or
provoking any incidents. He left after about one minute and the crowd
NLD supporters have used the intersection, about one kilometre from Ms
Suu Kyi's residence, as a meeting point to greet party leaders since the
authorities halted regular public meetings outside the Nobel Peace Prize
The meetings were held every weekend following her release from house
west in July 1995 until the end of September last year, when her
residence was blockaded to prevent the party from holding a national
The roadblocks have come down intermittently but are remounted every
weekend and when public disturbances or events take place, such as the
large student demonstrations last month or the current national sports
Groups in civilian clothes and yellow armbands were often used to patrol
areas when large public events are held, but Sunday was the first time
they were used against Ms Suu Kyi's supporters, one observer noted.
Major Hla Min, a Burmese intelligence official, said in a facsimile send
from Rangoon to Bangkok Saturday that NLD members had been dispersed
because they had been gathering in the path of the spoils festival's
This move by the NLD showed clear indications that, given the chance,.
they intended to disrupt the opening ceremonies of the National Sports
Festival, so security personnel are now on the alert and carrying out
their duties with vigilance to prevent any untoward incidents," he said.