Tuesday, December 30

Activists calling for release of Suu Kyi arrested

December 30, 2008

Nine activists were arrested in Myanmar's commercial capital Tuesday during a march calling for the release of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, witnesses said.

The eight men and one woman from Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party were grabbed and shoved into waiting trucks by plainclothes police officers outside the old parliament building in Yangon, witnesses said on condition of anonymity because of fear of government retribution.

The protesters started their march at the party's headquarters and walked silently along Yangon's main road for about 30 minutes before they were detained, witnesses said. Some carried a banner calling for Suu Kyi's release.

It was not immediately clear where the NLD members were taken.

NLD spokesman Nyan Win said he heard that female party member Htet Htet Oo Wei was among those who marched but he could not confirm her arrest.

Htet Htet Oo Wei has been arrested several times in the past and was detained for about a month in May after she and nearly 20 party members marched from party headquarters to Suu Kyi's house.

Suu Kyi _ the face of Myanmar's beleaguered opposition _ has been detained continuously since May 2003 despite a worldwide campaign calling on the country's military rulers to release her. Her house arrest was extended for another year in May.

Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962. The current junta came to power in 1988 after crushing a nationwide pro-democracy uprising.

It held elections in 1990 but refused to honor the results after Suu Kyi's party won a landslide victory. Since then, it has drafted a constitution that voters approved in May. It paves the way for elections in 2010.

Critics have dismissed the junta's democratic road map, saying it is little more than a veiled effort by the generals to remain the dominant force in politics.

From Associated Press release.

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