Myanmar warns Suu Kyi ahead of tour
Aung San Suu Kyi warned to curb political activities ahead of planned tour of country, with ministry warning of "chaos".
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2011 15:48
Suu Kyi drew large crowds when she last made a trip to the countryside in 2003 [GALLO/GETTY]

Myanmar's new military-backed government has warned pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her party to halt all political activities, official media has reported.

The home affairs ministry wrote to the Nobel Peace Prize winner on Wednesday accusing her National League for Democracy (NLD) party of breaking the law by maintaining party offices, holding meetings and issuing statements, the New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported.

"If they really want to accept and practise democracy effectively, they are to stop such acts that can harm peace and stability and the rule of law as well as the unity among the people including monks and service personnel," it said.

Myanmar's state media further warned Suu Kyi that her plans to travel outside Yangon to meet supporters could trigger riots.

A commentary, published in all three state-run daily newspapers, appeared to reflect government anxiety over Suu Kyi's plans to travel to other areas of the country.

The state press serves as a mouthpiece for the government, which otherwise makes few public announcements.

No date has been announced for Suu Kyi's travel.

Suu Kyi drew large crowds when she last made a trip to the countryside in 2003, and her popularity badly rattled the military regime.

Supporters of the state ambushed her entourage as it toured northern Myanmar, killing several of her followers.

She escaped but was detained. There were suspicions that the attack was organised by the army, which denied involvement.

Suu Kyi was released from house arrest last November after Myanmar held general elections that her party boycotted. Its failure to reregister for the polls led to its being officially disbanded as a party.

'Chaos and riots'

"We are deeply concerned that if Suu Kyi makes trips to countryside regions, there may be chaos and riots, as evidenced by previous incidents,'' the commentary said.

"The government has said that Suu Kyi is just an ordinary public member, so it will not restrict her from travelling and doing things in accordance with the law, but she shall honour the rule of law.''

Critics of the new nominally civilian government say its commitment to reform will be judged partly on whether it allows her freedom of movement.

The commentary chastised Suu Kyi's party for not taking part in the elections and accused it of "trying to politically test the patience of the government that shows its benevolent attitude by not taking action against

Tin Myint, a member of the NLD, said the commentary indicated the government was afraid of Suu Kyi's popularity.

"We are even more worried about the security of Suu [Kyi]  because of the government warning," he said.

Some party members fear the government will close party offices, especially outside Yangon, because the commentary indicated it had a legal basis to do so.

John McCain, the US senator, said earlier this month that he raised the issue of Suu Kyi's safety during a meeting with senior Myanmar government officials.

Landslide win

In 1990, Suu Kyi's led her party to a landslide election win that was never recognised by Myanmar's military rulers.

In a BBC lecture broadcast on Tuesday, Suu Kyi said the recent uprisings in the Middle East had given fresh hope to people in her country.

"The universal human aspiration to be free has been brought home to us by the stirring developments in the Middle East," she said.

"Do we envy the people of Tunisia and Egypt? Yes, we do envy them their quick and peaceful transitions.

"But more than envy is a sense of solidarity and of renewed commitment to our cause, which is the cause of all women and men who value human dignity and freedom."

Pro-democracy protests in 1988 and 2007 were brutally crushed by the military rulers of Myanmar.

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