Sunday, 17 November 2019

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Is Suu Kyi being protected?


Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Recent unabashed threats in Burma’s state-run newspaper ‘The New Light Of Myanmar’ have raised the issue of security for pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD leaders.

Security concerns for Aung San Suu Kyi are increasing after a recent article in a Burmese state-run newspaper appeared to threaten her safety unless she stopped supporting economic sanctions against Burma. Wherever Suu Kyi goes, she is surrounded by adoring crowds. (Photos: Mizzima)In the junta’s first direct criticism of Suu Kyi since her release from house arrest in November, a commentary article read as if she and other NLD leders would ‘meet their tragic end’ if they continued to endorse economic sanctions against Burma, the BBC reported last week.

The Burmese article said Suu Kyi and the NLD were ‘ignoring the fact that today's Myanmar [Burma] is marching to a new era, new system and new political platforms paving the way for democracy’ and claimed that they were going the wrong way’.

There have been serious concerns about Suu Kyi and her fellow NLD members safety since she was released from house arrest four months ago and has begun appearing at events in Rangoon.

NLD lawyer and spokesperson Nyan Win told Mizzima that the NLD has its own security team and that some security members are stationed at Suu Kyi’s house on University Avenue.

“We are very concerned about the security of the Lady,” Nyan Win told Mizzima. He said the NLD security team is made up of youth members and they had no plans to hire a private security firm.

Suu Kyi's security team is made up of NLD youth staff, who also are stationed at her lakeside home in Rangoon. (Photos: Mizzima)The NLD head of security, Win Htein, said on Friday that Suu Kyi has not received any threats and that comments like the recent one in the ‘New Light Of Myanmar’ have been ‘happening since our party was formed in 1988’.

Suu Kyi’s security team has about 20 NLD youth members, he said, some of whom are permanently assigned to  her home, and the rest make up a mobile team accompanying her when she travels to events or appointments.

Win Htein said that the security team routinely analyses events and has internal discussions on the best way to deal with Suu Kyi’s security.

Asked if Suu Kyi or other NLD members had any plans to travel outside of Rangoon in the near future, NLD lawyer Nyan Win told Mizzima, ‘At present, there are no intentions to leave Rangoon’.

He noted the 2003 Depayin Massacre in which Suu Kyi and her entourage were attacked and more than 70 NLD supporters were beaten to death by thugs who belonged to the government-backed Union Solidarity and Development Association (a now defunct, state-run ultra-nationalist organisation).

Nyan Win said that the government had never fulfilled its duty to conduct an inquiry into that bloody attack.  Three generals who have been accused of orchestrating the massacre ran for Parliament in the election last year and all won seats.

 

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