Burma to keep pro-democracy leader's home blockaded
October 1, 1996
Web posted at: 12:00 p.m.EDT (1600 GMT)
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RANGOON, Burma (CNN) -- Burma's military government confirmed
Tuesday that it had detained 559 pro-democracy activists over
the weekend and indicated it would continue blocking public
speeches by their leader, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Officials of the ruling State Law and Order Restoration
Council (SLORC) told a news conference the detainees would
soon be released but that some might be subject to separate
They also said roadblocks on the road to Suu Kyi's house
would remain in place until the government was sure her
National League of Democracy party (NLD) had no plans to meet
or create any disturbance.
"Deterrent action will be taken against any person or
organization not adhering to the rules and laws promulgated
by the government," said Col. Kyaw Thein, a SLORC spokesman.
Laws passed in June ban demonstrations and speeches deemed to
endanger peace, effectively blocking Suu Kyi from holding her
weekend meetings or speeches at her home.
The Saturday and Sunday speeches, attracting thousands of
people, were Suu Kyi's only direct communication with her
supporters and the international media. They had been held
every weekend for more than a year, rain or shine.
SLORC officials claim Suu Kyi has been trying to cause
unrest and confrontation with the government since she was
released from six years of house arrest in July 1995.
But Kyaw Thein produced no evidence for the military's
contention that allowing Suu Kyi's to speak in public would
incite riots. His superior, deputy director of intelligence
Col. Kyaw Win, said the regime was actually not worried
about riots or disturbances.
He said it feared that Suu Kyi's party might make "demands on
the government that would complicate the situation
"The media might report it as a demand made by 45 million
people (Burma's population) instead of just one political
party," Kyaw Win said.
The NLD won a 1990 general election, but the military refused
to allow parliament to convene.
Kyaw Win's statement was a rare acknowledgment that the
ruling generals do take international opinion into
consideration. Opponents of the military regime have
proposed boycotts and other economic sanctions to pressure it
to improve its human rights records and install a
democratically elected government.
The United States, Britain and international human rights
groups have condemned the detentions and demanded the
immediate release of detainees.
Correspondent Tom Mintier,The Associated Press and Reuters
contributed to this report.
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