Friday, June 19, 2009

Activists marking Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday arrested

by Mungpi

New Delhi (mizzima news) – Thirty-one Burmese activists were detained on Friday by Delhi police for holding a demonstration in front of the Burmese Embassy marking the 64th birthday of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Prior to their detention, activists submitted a memorandum signed by 27,400 Indian and Burmese supporters calling for the release of Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners in Burma.

Demonstrators also held a small birthday celebration for the pro-democracy leader by lighting 64 candles, cutting cakes and singing birthday songs in front of the Embassy. Posters and placards reading “Happy Birthday”, “Long Live Aung San Suu Kyi” and “Free Aung San Suu Kyi” were also prominently displayed.

“We submitted a memorandum to the Embassy along with 27,400 supporting signatures collected since March,” Salong, one of the protestors, told Mizzima while under detention at the Chanakya Police Station.

The protest, which lasted for a brief 15 minutes, was shut down after police from the nearby Chanakya station came and took away the protesters.

“We were informed by our police control room, which received calls from the Burmese Embassy informing them of the demonstration in front of their office,” a Chanakya police officer told Mizzima.

“We have arrested 31 Burmese people as they were demonstrating at a restricted area. We are registering their names and will soon release them,” said the officer, adding that there were no other legal problems concerning the protesters.

The protest in front of the Burmese Embassy in New Delhi is a part a global campaign for the release of the Burmese democracy icon on her 64th birthday, which she will be spending in solitary confinement in Rangoon’s notorious Insein prison.

A separate demonstration led by the Women’s League of Burma (WLB), an umbrella Burmese women organization, was also held today along New Delhi’s Parliament Street in commemoration of Aung San Suu Kyi’s 64th birthday.

The protestors, including women and children, came mostly attired in yellow in recognition of the sacrifices Suu Kyi has made in fighting for freedom and democracy in Burma.

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent more than 13 of the past 19 years in solitary confinement and just before completing her latest period of confinement was charged for violating her the terms of her detention for which she is currently facing trial in a special court inside Insein Prison.

The charges and trial against her have sparked international outcry and condemnation, with activists, world leaders and celebrities all lending their voices in opposition to the actions of Burma's military rulers.

Campaigners across the globe set Friday, June 19th, the birth date of Aung San Suu Kyi, as a time to demostrate worldwide solidarity for the plight of Burma's opposition leader. Activities across the globe range from protests to solidarity concerts.

Meanwhile, in Rangoon, Burma’s former capital and commercial hub, the occasion of Suu Kyi's 64th birthday went largely unremarked upon except for a few activists at the National League for Democracy office who held a small celebration for their detained party leader.

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