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Activist's National Day vow on caus

South China Morning Post
Tuesday  November 25  1997


Activist's National Day vow on cause 


Student power: Burmese students chant anti-government slogans during a
rally outside their embassy in Bangkok to commemorate the 77th
anniversary of National Day.
Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi vowed yesterday to continue her
struggle for democracy as riot police manned barbed wire barricades near
a National Day celebration at her residence.

Witnesses said 300 supporters of the main opposition National League for
Democracy (NLD) attended the gathering along with diplomats, including
representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Military authorities allowed 200 people to gather at her lakeside
residential compound to celebrate the 77th anniversary of National Day,
which marks the birth of Burma's independence movement.

Security forces checked and photographed people at barricades on
University Avenue. No one was turned away, they said.

Ms Aung San Suu Kyi said the NLD, which swept general elections in 1990
but whose victory was never recognised by the junta, would keep the
spirit of nationalism alive by striving for democracy and human rights.

"We will do what has to be done with courage and conviction. We bear no
malice against anyone," she said in a speech, calling for the continued
support of the Burmese people in their struggle.

It was the first big gathering by the party since a major shake-up of
Burma's military hierarchy this month, when the leadership unveiled a
reconstituted and renamed junta, the State Peace and Development Council.

Ms Aung San Suu Kyi said the changes, which have been followed by a huge
anti-corruption drive against some sidelined members of the old junta,
would be irrelevant if the Government did not change its outlook.

The NLD leader said no true spirit of nationalism could emerge from
narrow-mindedness and an attitude of repression and destruction towards
political opponents.

Meanwhile, an official press release said the junta needed the
"co-operation" of all 10 legal political parties in Burma - which
includes the NLD - to make the transition to democracy.

It said the authorities concerned and "the majority of the people" hoped
the NLD would respect the law on political activities.

Ms Aung San Suu Kyi said members of the NLD had suffered since the party
was formed in 1988. "The people of Burma understand well this spirit of
sacrifice and that is why we enjoy their support," she said.