Opposition Arrests in Myanmar
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: June 19, 2008
Filed at 7:26 a.m. ET
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) -- Myanmar's ruling military junta detained 12 opposition party members who called for the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi as she marked her 63rd birthday Thursday, witnesses said.
The 12 people were taken into a truck after dozens of Suu Kyi's supporters gathered outside National League for Democracy party's headquarters in Yangon, witnesses said on condition of anonymity for fear of government reprisals.
Some of those detained were punched and beaten before being taken away, they said.
The protesters shouted slogans calling for the government to immediately release Suu Kyi ''who has been unfairly detained.''
Last month, the junta extended the house arrest of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate for a sixth year, despite international protests. . . . go to article
Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi, known as The Lady, was forced to live the last ten years under house arrest in her family home on a lake in Yangon, Myanmar (formerly the country of Burma). Armed guards prohibited her from leaving. Now she has been moved to prison, because of the protests that have erupted in her country, led by thousands of organized Budhist Monks!
Sunday, June 19, 2005, the devout Buddhist, who received the Nobel Peace prize in 1991 for her nonviolent struggle for democracy in Myanmar, will be sixty. Supporters around the globe plan protests and concerts, but no public celebration is planned in Myanmar because of fear of government retribution.
Myanmar has been under military rule since a coup d'etat in 1962. In 1988 the army massacred thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators in the capital Rangoon, now called Yangon, and other cities, leading to another coup.
The new military leaders held national assembly elections in 1990 in which the National League for Democracy, which Suu Kyi helped found, won 82% of the seats. The junta refused to hand over power, however, and a committee of generals has run the country ever since.
The economic and political sanctions put in place by the U.S. and other nations -in an attempt to win Suu Kyi's freedom, have only crippled the economy. previously one of the wealthiest nations in Southeast Asia, Myanmar is now one of the poorest. Unlike its neighbors, Myanmar is mostly isolated from the outside world.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called for Kyi's release and the democratization of her society. Rock musicans including Paul McCartney, U2, Pearl Jam and REM have dedicated songs to her, and U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos tried, unsuccessfully, to deliver 6000 birthday cards to her.
Suu Kyi continues to call on the military to honor the results of the 1990 election and transfer power to the National League for Democracy, which she heads as general secretary. She also repeadtedly demands the release of political prisoners, including leaders of her party.