Myanmar icon Suu Kyi's front gate up for auction

Proceeds will go towards helping Aung San Suu Kyi build new headquarters for her National League for Democracy party.

    Myanmar icon Suu Kyi's front gate up for auction
    Starting bid for the iron gate will be around $200,000 [EPA]

    The iron gate that stood in front of the home of Myanmar's formerly imprisoned democracy icon, separating her from throngs of cheering supporters as she made speeches challenging the country's then-military rulers, is going on the auction block.

    Soe Nyunt, the current owner, told the AP news agency on Monday that the starting bid would be $200,000. Proceeds will go towards helping Aung San Suu Kyi build a new National League for Democracy party headquarters.

    This gate tells the history of the country's democratic struggle.

    Soe Nyunt, owner of the gate

    The 69-year old Nobel laureate - and daughter of Myanmar's famous independence leader, General Aung San - became an international symbol of peaceful resistance in the face of oppression during her 15 years under house arrest.

    She permanently moved from London to the lakeside house of her mother almost 27 years ago, where while under incarceration she would mount a table behind her front gate, holding onto the pointed iron spikes as she spoke to crowds through a loudspeaker about everything from corruption to the poor standards of education.

    Soe Nyunt said he was landscaping Suu Kyi's garden soon after her release in 2010 when he saw the gate - and the house number, 54, painted on a separate lacquered plate - under a mango tree waiting to be picked up by a junk collector.

    Elections, seen by many as neither free nor fair, were held the next year, beginning a bumpy transition from dictatorship to democracy and Suu Kyi is now leader of the opposition in the country's military-dominated young parliament.

    "This gate tells the history of the country's democratic struggle," Soe Nyunt told AP, adding that he paid Suu Kyi a few hundred dollars for the gate and number with the idea that he would one day place them in a museum.

    He decided on an auction, to be held within the next two weeks, because he saw it as a way to help the cash-strapped NLD build a new party headquarters and to help pay for upcoming centennial celebrations to honour Suu Kyi's father.



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