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More Myanmar opposition arrests, ca

More Myanmar opposition arrests, calls for Aung San Suu Kyi deportation

       Tue 08 Sep 98 - 11:45 GMT

       YANGON, Sept 8 (AFP) - Myanmar's opposition said Tuesday the military
had arrested 110 more of its members
       and a commentary in the state media called for opposition leader Aung
San Suu Kyi to be deported.

       Opposition officials said the junta had arrested a further 110
members of her National League for Democracy (NLD)
       party, bringing the total detained in the past three days to 220.

       The junta said they had merely been invited for a political

       The NLD said in a statement that 73 of those arrested in various
parts of the country since Sunday were members of
       parliament elected in the 1990 polls which the opposition won by a

       "The NLD strongly condemns and protests these arrests and demands
their immediate release," it said.

       The junta arrested some 110 NLD members on Sunday and Monday,
opposition officials said earlier.

       Meanwhile a commentary entitled "Time for Deportation" in the state's
Mirror Daily on Tuesday, attributed to an
       unnamed chief court lawyer, appealed to the junta to deport Aung San
Suu Kyi.

       "Daw Suu Kyi ... has tried to blatantly destroy the country by
deliberately creating problems," the commentary,
       believed to be officially inspired, said.

       "I therefore appeal to the government, on behalf of the people, that
it is time now to issue a deportation order and
       send her back where she belongs," it added.

       "Since she is undoubtedly a foreigner (having married a Britisher)
and the British consul would obviously intervene
       on her behalf if she were charged with sedition, the next best thing
to do under the circumstances (as a sovereign
       state) is to have her deported."

       Observers in Yangon said the arrests appeared to be a pre-emptive
strike following the NLD's announcement that it
       intends unilaterally to convene the parliament elected in 1990 by the
end of this month.

       The military refused to hand over power after the election eight
years ago and has rejected demands that the 1990
       parliament be convened, saying a new national constitution must be
written first.

       Foreign diplomats in Yangon confirmed the detentions were taking
place but could not say how many people were

       "I can't confirm exact figures but a large number have been
detained," one said.

       "There was no brutality, it was handled very smoothly. They are being
held in government guest houses, but their
       freedom of movement has definitely been curtailed."

       An official statement said authorities had simply invited the NLD
members for a discussion on the convening of
       parliament and they were being "comfortably housed at government
guest houses while the process continues.

       "To convene a parliament before the constitution is finished would
lead to political confusion and possibly
       undermine national security," the statement said.

       "The government of Myanmar is very concerned at the tragic loss of
life due to political violence in some other
       countries in the region in recent days," it continued in an apparent
reference to Cambodia.

       Political tensions have been rising since the NLD set an August 21
deadline for the junta to convene parliament.
       After the deadline passed the opposition vowed to convene parliament
by itself.

       But diplomats and observers in Yangon said the city was quiet and
only a light police presence remained outside
       university facilities where students held demonstrations last week.

       A junta official said a sit-in demonstration at the Yangon Institute
of Technology's (YIT) Hlaing campus had ended
       and most students were now taking exams.

       "Over 70 of them considered to be ringleaders who instigated last
week's campus unrest are presently taking their
       exams at a separate venue," the official said.

       Some 3,000 students protested at Hlaing last Wednesday while about
800 more gathered at the main YIT campus
       nearby. Both protests ended peacefully.

       The demonstrations were the biggest since unrest in 1996 when
universities were closed.

)AFP 1998