Junta clamp on Suu Kyi's supporters

Associated Press

Rangoon - Burma's military regime, slapping down a fresh challenge from the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, rounded up scores of her supporters to stop her holding a party congress.

The arrests were the junta's latest attempt to box in Ms Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, since curtailing her political activities and freedom of movement last year.

The congress of her National League for Democracy (NLD) was called to mark the seventh anniversary next week of the election in which her supporters won 82 per cent of the vote. The ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (Slorc) refused to relinquish power and parliament never convened.

Amnesty International described 1996 as "the worst year for human rights since the government annulled the elections," and said: "Now the Slorc seems determined to eliminate the party altogether."

Arrests took place in Mandalay, Sagaing and Irrawaddy divisions and Mon State, all far-flung provinces. Some 200 members of the parliament-elect and 100 party organisers were invited to the meeting from around the country. Kyi Maung, NLD vice-chairman, said several members were taking refuge in Ms Suu Kyi's lakeside compound in hopes of avoiding arrest.

The sweep came to light on the day US sanctions banning new investment in Burma went into effect in protest at the military's increased repression. The two events did not appear connected.

Amnesty International urged the Association of South-East Asian Nations to press Burma to improve its rights record. Asean refuses, calling Burma's politics an internal affair. At a meeting next week in Malaysia, Asean is expected to clear the way for Burma to be made a member in July.

Roads have been blocked to Ms Suu Kyi's home for months, ending her popular rallies that attracted as many as 10,000 people. She is not allowed to speak in public and has at times been prevented from leaving her home.

Although diplomats and supporters are occasionally allowed in to see her, aides describe the restrictions on her movements and contacts as virtual house arrest. In November her motorcade was attacked by a government- paid mob wielding sticks, chains and crowbars.

The military has ruled Burma since 1962. Ms Suu Kyi, daughter of the independence hero Aung San, was thrust into prominence by the 1988 uprising against military rule that was crushed when troops killed thousands of protesters.

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week