Suu Kyi stopped by Burmese police

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The Independent Online

Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, attempting to travel outside Yangon for the first time in two years, was stopped by police on the capital's outskirts Thursday and had not returned home by this morning, sources close to her said.

Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, attempting to travel outside Yangon for the first time in two years, was stopped by police on the capital's outskirts Thursday and had not returned home by this morning, sources close to her said.

The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, along with members of her political party, crossed the Yangon River by ferry and were halted by police at suburban Dala, said the sources, who demanded anonymity.

Reporters who tried to take the ferry across the river to Dala this morning were politely told by a plainclothes security official not to go. Normal commuters were allowed to cross, however.

Suu Kyi and her party reportedly had been planning to travel to Kungyangon, 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Yangon, to carry out reorganization of the National League for Democracy's youth wing.

Suu Kyi opposes the military council which has ruled Myanmar, also known as Burma, with an iron fist after brutally crushing a pro-democracy uprising she led in 1988.

A year later she was placed under a house arrest which lasted until 1995. Since then Suu Kyi's movements have been restricted by the military, which refuses to enter a dialogue with her.

Suu Kyi's group was scheduled to return to Yangon on Thursday afternoon but had not arrived back by Friday morning, a family member of the league's vice chairman, Tin Oo, said in a telephone interview. Tin Oo and members of the youth wing were with Suu Kyi when she was stopped.

The family sources said the party was stranded in Tin Oo's car after police aborted their travel plans.

Suu Kyi's car and driver remained parked on the Yangon side of the river at the ferry pier Friday morning.

The trip was Suu Kyi's first outside Yangon since several failed attempts in 1998. She was stopped by police four times in July and August that year as she tried to meet party members in outlying areas.

On two occasions in 1998, the persons she wanted to meet were brought to her where her car was stopped.

In August 1998, when her car was stopped on a trip to the Irrawaddy Delta town of Pathein, she remained inside her vehicle for nearly six days in protest.

Police finally brought her back to Yangon in what she described as "being kidnapped."

On the fourth occasion, also in August, Suu Kyi broke a 13-day standoff and returned home voluntarily on her doctor's advice.

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