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Party guests harassed by junta: NLD

Party guests harassed by junta: NLD invitation letters were 'confiscated'

Bangkok Post, 26/11/97.

Rangoon, AFP

Burma's main opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) yesterday
slammed the military authorities for obstructing its efforts to commemorate
National Day at the house of Aung San Suu Kyi.

An NLD statement accused the authorities of harassing party members to
prevent them from attending the gathering on Monday, organised to mark the
77th anniversary of the Burmese independence movement.

"Various means" had been used to "hamper and obstruct" the ceremony
including the confiscation of invitations to the event.

"Not only did they place barb-wire barriers near Aung San Suu Kyi's
residence ? they even went to the extent of confiscating the invitations
letters," the statement said.

The event was the first major NLD gathering since Burma's military
leadership announced a shake-up of regime, designed to help the country make
the transition towards "disciplined democracy".

The NLD noted the obstructions came despite earlier official assertions that
such NLD gathering could be conducted freely inside the Rangoon residential
compound of the party leader.

The party complained that even central executive committee members of the
party - including co-vice-chairman Tin Oo - were subjected to "prolonged
questioning" although security officials on duty knew them by sight.

"These petty acts of harassments were totally unnecessary? especially when
everyone including the authorities should have been sharing the feeling of
mutual pride on such an occasion," the statement said.

Some 300 NLD members, as well as diplomats and local journalists, were
allowed into the National Day gathering after security checks at barricades
manned by riot police either side of Aung San Suu Kyi's house.

Security officials at the scene said that no invitees were turned away.