Leading Burma opposition member warns of fresh uprisings

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The Independent Online

A leading member of Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party has vowed the struggle for democracy in Burma will continue despite her incarceration and said that students and Buddhist monks could take to the streets again in the sort of mass demonstrations that rocked the junta two years ago.

Win Tin, an 80-year-old veteran opposition member released from jail last year after serving 19 years in solitary confinement, said: "Of course, we have to struggle, not just for democracy but for the release of our leader. It's almost impossible – the regime has a very detailed plan to keep her detained. They want to keep her out of politics ... because she is so powerful and so popular."

The former journalist spoke from Rangoon as the United States Senator, Jim Webb, was due to arrive in the country today for three days of talks with officials. It is expected that Mr Webb, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee sub-group on South East Asia, will try and secure the release of US citizen John Yettaw, who was sentenced to seven years imprisonment. Mr Yettaw, like Mr Webb a former Vietnam veteran, swam across a lake to Ms Suu Kyi's home, triggering claims by the junta she had breached the conditions of her house arrest.

Win Tin said prior to the verdict of the trial that student groups and Buddhist monks had vowed to oppose Ms Suu Kyi being imprisoned or put back under house arrest. "According to... some of the monks and students...there will be some movement," he said.

Meanwhile, the European Union said it was extending its sanctions on Burma to cover members of the judiciary responsible for the verdict in the opposition leader's case. A statement said members of the judiciary had been added to a list of officials of the military government subject to asset freezes and bans on travel to the EU.