Fri, Jun 20, 2008 - Page 5 News List

Twelve detained on Aung San Suu Kyi's 63rd birthday

AP , YANGON, MYANMAR

Myanmar's military junta detained 12 opposition party members who called for the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi as she marked her 63rd birthday yesterday, witnesses said.

The 12 people were placed in a truck after dozens of Suu Kyi’s supporters gathered outside the National League for Democracy party’s headquarters in Yangon, witnesses said on condition of anonymity.

Some of those detained were punched and beaten before being taken away, they said.

The protesters shouted slogans calling for the government to immediately release Suu Kyi, “who has been unfairly detained.”

Last month, the junta extended the house arrest of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate for a sixth year, despite international protests.

The Suu Kyi supporters dispersed yesterday — some running back into party headquarters — after more than 100 pro-junta thugs approached in six trucks.

Security was tight around both the party headquarters and near her home, with extra barricades at both locations.

Some 40 plainclothes security officials and other pro-junta men were stationed around the headquarters.

When a group of Buddhist nuns stood outside the headquarters to pray, security officials videotaped them.

Earlier in the day, the party celebrated Suu Kyi’s birthday by offering meals to Buddhist monks at the headquarters, several kilometers from her home.

Suu Kyi offered yellow roses at Yangon’s Shwedagon pagoda through a member of her political party.

Party member Myint Soe, who buys and brings food daily for Suu Kyi, offered 64 roses at the soaring Buddhist shrine, signifying the beginning of her 64th year, party sources said.

He also laid 64 yellow chrysanthemums at the tomb of Khin Kyi, Suu Kyi’s mother and the wife of Myanmar independence hero General Aung San.

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