Friday, May 15, 2009

Security Increased around Insein Prison

The Irrawaddy News

Increased security forces, including firefighters, members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) and Swan Arr Shin, have been stationed around Rangoon’s infamous Insein prison, following the imprisonment of Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday.

An estimated two dozen people gathered at the prison on Friday morning seeking information about Suu Kyi. They were ordered to leave the area by security guards.

“Since yesterday morning, the security troops have deployed heavily in northern Rangoon and Insein Township,” said a source close to Insein Prison.

After the Burmese military government brought Aung San Suu Kyi from her lakeside house to Insein Prison, she was charged with violating the conditions of her house arrest.

A US citizen, John William Yettaw, 53, of Falcon, Missouri, swam across Inya Lake to Aung San Suu Kyi’s lakeside resident where he stayed two nights last week, according to authorities. It is against the law in Burma for nationals to allow foreigners to stay overnight without approval from authorities.

According to sources in Insein Township, located in the northwest outskirts of Rangoon, additional security forces are posted around government buildings and monasteries near the prison, which houses many pro-democracy activists.

“Police, soldiers, firefighters and uniformed Swan-Arr-Shin have been stationed at Eight mile Junction and Thamine Junction and on the outskirts of the city,” said a Rangoon resident said.

“They [USDA and Swan-Arr-Shin] are stationed along the streets in Insein wards,” she said. “They stop taxis, cars and passersby, and they inspect them carefully.”

She said that plainclothes police and USDA members are going around check on the overnight guests’ list in various wards.

Sources in Rangoon said that people are flocking to Internet shops to try to get more news and information about Suu Kyi’s trial from exiled media Web sites. The trial may get underway on Monday, according to sources. Suu Kyi, her doctor, two caretakers and Yettaw are all charged with violating state security laws.

“The government is making people angry, and most people don’t believe that Daw Suu is guilty,” said a Rangoon-based reporter. “The government is manipulating the events again to put her in jail.”

“Many people, even when they go for walk, have a radio and listen for information about Daw Suu,” he said. “I saw trishaw drivers in a circle listening for news.”

Meanwhile, Internet service has been unreliable in Burma recently, with connections going on and off.

“Normally, Internet users go to chat rooms and talk, but now they read quietly about Daw Suu,” said one Internet user in downtown Rangoon.

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