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

Reuters-Myanmar opposition says mor

Myanmar opposition says more members held by gov't 
07:17 a.m. Sep 24, 1998 Eastern 

YANGON, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Myanmar's opposition National League for
Democracy (NLD) party said on Thursday the number of its members detained
by the military government since May and in the latest crackdown from
August had risen to 912. 

On Monday the NLD said 882 of its members had been detained since the end
of May. 

The NLD's latest statement ran counter to one from the ruling State Peace
and Development Council (SPDC) which said it had released seven of the
party's detainees on September 22-23 and more would be freed in coming

The SPDC cracked down hard on opposition activists last month after
charismatic NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi and party members pressured it to
convene a ``People's Parliament'' comprising representatives from the 1990
general election. 

The NLD swept that election, but the military ignored the results. 

The NLD said in its statement that 200 of the 912 held by the government
were elected members of parliament while the others were its members from
various levels nationwide. 

The opposition said the government crackdown on MPs was aimed at eroding
the NLD's ability to convene the parliament. So, the NLD on September 17
set up a 10-man committee to act for the parliament elected in 1990. 

The SPDC maintains that the detainees were ``invited guests'' of the
government and had held ``exchanges of views'' with the government. It has
not disclosed the number detained. 

``Following several weeks of goodwill view-exchanges with the government,
seven members of the NLD returned home earlier this week,'' the SPDC
statement said. 

``View exchanges...are continuing and are being held in a cordial
atmosphere in government guest houses,'' it added. ``The government expects
more of the view exchanges to conclude in coming weeks, and for more of the
NLD members to return home.'' 

But the NLD disputed this. 

``Although the authorities keep saying that those NLD members were invited
for discussions, it is learnt they were asked ...their opinion about the
present situation of the NLD leadership and their attitude towards NLD's
current political movements,'' it said in a statement. 

MPs and members had also been grilled about their views on the NLD's call
for the convening of a parliament, their opinions about Suu Kyi and top NLD
leaders and the SPDC and their assessments of the political situation if
parliament was not convened, the party said. 

The party again appealed to the government to stop local authorities from
detaining more of its members. 

On Thursday, a group of about 20,000 members from 31 Myanmar
non-governmental organisations gathered at the National Gymnasium to voice
their support for the SPDC and opposition to the NLD's activities. 

Some of the spokesman for the groups labelled the NLD as a group of
``subversives'' and urged the govenment to get rid of politicians who
disrupted political stbility in the country. 

They also denounced a move by the NLD to set up a committee to act for the
parliament elected in 1990 and labelled the panel's members ``traitors.''