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Suu Kyi falls ill during Mandalay rally

Mandalay (Mizzima) – Saying she felt dizzy and tired, Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi stopped her speech here on Saturday before the biggest crowd yet in her campaign to win a seat in Parliament. Sources said an estimated 100,000 people turned out to catch a glimpse of her or hear her speak. 

On Sunday, however, she was back in good health, greeting crowds of supporters as she campaigned in Sagaing, about 32 kilometres from Mandalay.

"I did not feel well yesterday, but because of the people's kindness I feel better today. I am well now," she told tens of thousands of people who had gathered to hear her speak.

Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to supporters in Mandalay on Saturday, March 3, 2012. Photo: MizzimaNational League for democracy officials said Suu Kyi experienced motion sickness on Saturday on the flight from Rangoon to Mandalay, and, while speaking, she told the huge crowd before her that when people surged against each other it made her dizzy.

The New York Times quoted her saying, “I would like to tell you frankly that I’m feeling weak today and my speaking capacity is reduced. I’m going to take some rest.”

A short while later, she left the venue to rest in her hotel room. “She is feeling better now. She's taking a rest,” Nge Nge, a physician and aide told The Associated Press.

The 66-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate has conducted a tiring, steady campaign across the country during the past two weeks, traveling to the far south and into Kachin State in northeast Burma. Her campaign trips have seen huge crowds line the roads, forcing her miles-long caravan to take up to four or five hours to travel short distances. Tens of thousands of cheering supporters clogged the roads starting at Mandalay's airport, slowing her convoy to a crawl until she arrived at an open field where tens of thousands of people awaited her.

“I haven't see such a huge crowd since 1988!” she told the crowd. That year Burma’s military regime brutally cracked down on democracy activists, starting a period of severe repression that included the death and jailing of many civilian activists.

“The road ahead is rough and tough,” Suu Kyi told the crowd in the open field on the outskirts of Burma’s second largest city. "Democracy is hard to achieve and even if it is obtained, it will not be easy to sustain. We all have to work hard.”
Nge Nge said Suu Kyi was scheduled to speak at another rally near Mandalay on Sunday.

Recently, NLD officials have complained that the Burmese authorities had denied it permission to speak at appropriate venues in several cities. In the first week of February, Suu Kyi abandoned plans to speak in Mandalay after authorities failed to grant her use of a football stadium. The same problems arouse in other cities, said NLD officials, who held a press conference last week to discuss the issue.

“We're not happy with the way in which our right to campaign freely is restricted in some areas,” Suu Kyi said his week. “Not in too many areas, but still I would hesitate to say that everything is going smoothly and everything is in line with the basic principles of democratic elections.”

A free and fair April 1 by-election is a condition for the removal of more sanctions by the U.S. and the European Union.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 04 March 2012 20:39 )  

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