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Myanmar Repression Grows (AP)

Thursday May 27 2:59 PM ET 

Activist: Myanmar Repression Grows

AP Photo View at
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - Marking the ninth anniversary of an election annulled
by the military regime, Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said
Thursday that repression of her supporters had reached unprecedented levels.

The streets of the capital, Yangon, were calm. But in Bangkok, the capital
of neighboring Thailand, exiled dissidents cut their wrists and dripped
blood on a Myanmar flag, then set it alight during a demonstration by about
200 people outside the Myanmar Embassy.

In Myanmar, also known as Burma, previous anniversaries of the May 27, 1990,
elections have been preceded by mass arrests of supporters of Nobel Peace
Prize-winner Suu Kyi's political party, the National League for Democracy.
The party won 82 percent of parliamentary seats in the annulled vote.

A crackdown to smash the party's infrastructure that began in August - a
response to Suu Kyi's demand that the parliament finally be seated - has led
to thousands of members being held indefinitely, and this year there are few
people left to round up.

Suu Kyi spoke at a low-key ceremony attended by more than 300 members at
party headquarters near the foot of the towering, golden Shwedagon Pagoda,
the country's holiest Buddhist shrine.

She renewed calls for dialogue with the government and vowed that her party
would continue working for democracy. She also responded to a handful of
members who have urged her to change what they see as fruitless,
confrontational tactics.

``Anyone unfaithful to the party and its cause are nothing but traitors,''
Suu Kyi said. ``With unity, perseverance and loyalty we are confident that
we will achieve our goal.''

The military has ruled Myanmar since 1962. Periodic anti-government protests
have been crushed, most notably in 1988 when as many as 3,000 people were
killed nationwide. Myanmar's people seem increasingly disinclined to protest
in the streets.

Suu Kyi, daughter of independence hero Aung San, was vaulted to leadership
of the pro-democracy movement by the 1988 protests. She won the Nobel Peace
Prize in 1991.

Over the past decade, the government has confined her to house arrest or
otherwise curbed her movements. The political situation is at a stalemate,
with the generals refusing to hold a dialogue with her and the party

refusing to send others in her stead.