Police block Suu Kyi prayer rally

Government ignores calls for her release and increases security around her home.

    Supporters were heading for a prayer
    vigil when they were stopped [Reuters]
    Myanmar timeline

    1988: Military crackdown on pro-democracy protests, estimated 3,000 killed


    1989: Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to house arrest for allegedly endangering the state


    1990: NLD wins landslide in national election; military refuses to recognise result


    1991: Suu Kyi awarded Nobel Peace Prize


    1995: Suu Kyi freed, but movements restricted


    1997: Myanmar admitted to Asean


    2000: Suu Kyi sentenced to house arrest for defying travel restrictions


    2002: Suu Kyi released following UN-facilitated secret talks with government


    2003: Government unveils "road map" to democracy; Suu Kyi returned to house arrest after her convoy is attacked in north of country


    2005: Government announces shift to new capital Naypidaw


    2007: Nearly 3,000 prisoners released in amnesty to mark independence anniversary, but no key political figures freed

    Security beefed up 
    The authorities beefed up security near Aung San Suu Kyi's lakeside residence and extended barbed wire barricades on her street, closing it to traffic. Police with batons were also deployed near the roadblocks.
    "They can't stop us from praying. We will let them know they can't stop us," Min Ko Naing, a 1988 student leader who was jailed for nearly 16 years, told the crowd.
    Aung San Suu Kyi, 61, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has spent more than 11 of the past 17 years in detention.
    "Extending the detention by one more year amounts to ignoring calls by world leaders for her release," the NLD said in a statement.
    In 1988, the military government of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, crushed pro-democracy demonstrations, killing an estimated 3,000 protesters mostly students.
    United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, has called her confinement "cruel and unacceptable".
    Official media said on Saturday Aung San Suu Kyi's latest confinement, which began on May 30, 2003, was lenient and her release was not necessary for national reconciliation.
    Sunday's protest marked the anniversary of the NLD's sweeping 1990 election victory, which was rejected by the military saying it first needed to draft a constitution.
    It was never completed.
    Ko Ko Gyi, another former 1988 student leader, said of Sunday's prayer vigil: "It is a victory for the people who love and desire justice and democracy. They peacefully showed how united and disciplined they are."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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