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Suu Kyi salutes thousands, meets press, at NLD office

Rangoon (Mizzima) – Her release from house arrest confirmed, Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi today delivered her first scheduled public address at National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon.

Thousands weathered the Burmese sun and congested roads to gather in front of the opposition party’s office, with not an open space of pavement or dirt to be found anywhere in the vicinity.

The visible outpouring of support caused one Burmese in attendance to remark that the country’s generals miscalculated in releasing Suu Kyi so close to the election date, which was marred by transgressions and assessed to have merely provided fresh evidence to the Burmese electorate of the impending need for change.

Appearing slightly past 11 a.m. (local time), Daw Suu, as millions affectionately know her, addressed the enthusiastic crowd in a green shirt adorned with an off-yellow garland. She voiced her support for the Burmese people and thanked them in return for their support.

Towards the close of the gathering, which lasted well past the noon finish time originally announced, she displayed a placard reading “Aung San Suu Kyi loves the Burmese people.” Next to the text was a check mark, a clear slight to Burma’s military and their stage-managed general election held on November 7.

She would later inform a press conference, “I don’t believe in one party or one person dominating the government. That is not democracy.” The junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has been announced to have captured over 80 per cent of available seats, benefitting from enormous structural advantages throughout the electoral process.

While the front and centre portions of those gathered remained relatively calm throughout Suu Kyi’s public address, the outlying viewing areas were the scene of a constant battle between those who turned out hoping to gain the best vantage point possible. According to one NLD senior member, as well as a youth member, they were surprised by how many turned out to witness the event, with the size of the crowd catching them unawares. Those who attended her last release in 2000 said the outpouring of interest this time surpassed that year’s.

Following the general speech, Suu Kyi held a press conference inside party headquarters. Dozens of foreign correspondents covered the event alongside scores of Burmese journalists, greatly testing the physical capacity of the venue.

The opposition leader appeared confident and spoke quickly in response to questions.

She told those gathered, “We [Burma] had elections in 1990, [and] at that time we won. And then now they [the ruling regime] try to make elections again. Why do they make another election? Elections are made according to independence and freedom of choosing as voters like … With this election, what were they thinking?”

Responding to a question about the founding principles and orientation of her movement, Daw Suu expressed: “I didn’t found the NLD as a party but as an organisation for change for the people of Burma. And as long as the people want change for Burma, this organisation … will continue to exist.”

She also lamented the country’s continuing trend to look to solve differences via military force, stipulating that it has never been her opinion that force can provide the requisite salve for Burma’s wounds.

Prior to greeting the general public, Suu Kyi held a closed-door meeting incorporating various members of the international diplomatic community.

According to ‘The Lady’ herself, her plans of public appearances in the days ahead as yet remain undetermined.

Last Updated ( Monday, 15 November 2010 01:59 )  

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