Freedom plea for Suu Kyi supporters

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The Independent Online
MYANMAR'S National League for Democracy yesterday demanded the release of seven members said to have been detained two weeks ago as they tried to check the health of its leader Aung San Suu Kyi in her last roadside protest.

The NLD, the opposition party, named the seven as Thein Oo, Soe Win, Man Nyunt Thein, Naw Ohn Hla, Cho Cho Myint, Khin Kyaw and Hla Khin.

"Those who were detained did not intend to incite unrest, to disrupt peace and tranquillity, to oppose the rule of law and order." said a League statement. "There is no reason to detain them. The NLD demands the immediate and unconditional release of those people."

A spokesman for the military government said: "We need to take time to check their accusations. They have have made several allegations and accusations. They always fail to mention when [other detainees are] released. In this scenario, it creates difficulties in checking their allegations."

Suu Kyi began what became a near-two-week roadside protest against military government restrictions on her movements on August 12.

She gave up on Monday after doctors became concerned about her health and has since been recuperating. The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner and three supporters had been stuck in a minivan at Anyarsu village about 32 km (20 miles) from Yangon, prevented from travelling west and also refusing government demands to return to Yangon.

During the protest the NLD demanded the release of 97 members detained since May.

Last week, the party announced it would shortly call a "People's Parliament", a defiant challenge to the military, which has ruled Myanmar for more than 35 years. The NLD won the country's most recent polls, in May 1990, by a landslide, but the result was ignored by the military, which has since tried to stifle the opposition through a campaign of arrests and intimidation, diplomats say.

Human rights groups say Myanmar is holding hundreds of political prisoners, including dozens of NLD MPs.

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