The NLD, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel prize for Peace in 1991, had set yesterday as a deadline for the government to convene a parliament of members elected in the country's last general elections in 1990. The NLD won that poll by a landslide but the military government has ignored the result, saying the country needed a constitution before a parliament could be convened.
The NLD announced that it "will convene a people's parliament comprising people's representatives of the national races within a short period".
It was a challenge to the military, which has been in direct power since 1988 when it crushed a nationwide uprising for democracy.
On Thursday, a government spokesman dismissed the NLD demand, saying: "Calling for a parliament in the absence of a constitution is like forcing a bald person to dye his hair."
As the NLD made its announcement, Ms Suu Kyi was about 20 miles outside Rangoon, spending a 10th day in a roadside protest. She and three supporters have been stuck in a minivan on a small bridge at the village of Anyarsu since 12 August, having been denied permission to travel to the west of the country and in turn refusing government demands to return to Rangoon.
The NLD vice chairman, Tin Oo, said yesterday that Ms Suu Kyi would hold out until the government released 97 detained party members, even though her blood pressure was low and she was showing signs of jaundice.
A lady not for turning,
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