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Burma Party Protests Detaintion

c The Associated Press  

RANGOON, Burma (AP) - The political party of pro-democracy leader Aung San
Suu Kyi on Friday demanded the release of eight members it says were arrested
in the aftermath of a scuffle with police. 

The confrontation occurred Tuesday when Suu Kyi left her closely guarded home
to try to meet members of her party's youth wing in a Rangoon suburb. 

It was one of the few trips the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner has been
allowed outside her home in the past year. 

Supporters broke through barbed-wire barricades when the car carrying Suu Kyi
approached; about a dozen fought with riot police. Police blocked Suu Kyi
from proceeding to the meeting and broke up the gathering. 

In the days since, eight members of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy
have been arrested, the party said. The government says only four party
members have been called in for questioning. 

``We strongly condemn the undue force used by authorities against a legally
registered political party,'' the National League for Democracy said

``We demand that the authorities allow a legal party to carry out its
organizational work and stop the unlawful detentions,'' the statement said.
``We also demand the unconditional release of those arrested as soon as

Suu Kyi's attempt to meet supporters tested the limits of a recent softening
toward her by the military regime, which allowed a congress of her party in
September and let her visit youth-wing members in another Rangoon suburb last

Suu Kyi has largely been confined to her home for more than a year and
weekend meetings that drew thousands to hear her speak have been stopped. 

Quiet pressure from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is believed to
be behind recent changes. The regional bloc admitted Burma in July over
Western protests, but is now thought to be pressing Burma to resolve its
deadlock with Suu Kyi. 

The military has ruled Burma, which it calls Myanmar, since 1962. 

Suu Kyi, daughter of independence hero Aung San, rose to the forefront of the
democracy movement during an uprising against military rule in 1988 that was
violently suppressed. She was kept under house arrest from 1989 to 1995. 

AP-NY-10-31-97 1742EST