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

Suu Kyi vows to continue struggle

Hongkong Standard (25 November 1997)
BURMESE pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi vowed on Monday to struggle
on 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 morning gathering, along with diplomats _
including representative from Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(Asean) members from the Philippines and Thailand. 

Military authorities gave permission for 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. 

Aung San Suu Kyi said the NLD, which swept the last general elections
held in Burma in 1990, 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 any one,'' she said in a speech, calling for the
continued support of the Burmese people in their struggle. 

The NLD's landslide election victory has never been recognised by Burma's
military government, which has continued to arrest and imprison its

Aung San Suu Kyi said the changes, which had been followed by a major
anti-corruption drive against some sidelined members of the old junta,
would be irrelevant if the government did not change its outlook. ``If it
is only changing the people not the principle there is nothing new,'' she

In her speech, the NLD leader said no true spirit of nationalism could
ever emerge from narrow-mindedness and an attitude of repression and
destruction towards political opponents. 

Meanwhile, an official press release said the military government 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. 

Aung San Suu Kyi told the gathering that members of the NLD had suffered
in various ways since the party was formed after nationwide
demonstrations for democracy in 1988, which were crushed by the military.
``The people of Burma understand very well this spirit of sacrifice and
that is why we enjoy their support,'' she said. 

The Asean presence at Monday's function follows an informal meeting last
month between Aung San Suu Kyi and the Philippine foreign secretary _ the
highest ranking foreign official to meet her in Rangoon. Burma was
admitted to the Asean in July despite objections from the West. 

A group of Burmese students marked their country's national day with a
protest outside Rangoon's embassy in Bangkok to demand the military junta
respect human rights and release political prisoners. 

``We would like to ask the (junta) to co-operate with the National League
for Democracy including Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic minorities for
reconciliation and to restore peace and democracy in Burma.'' - AFP