Protesters demand Suu Kyi release


  • Global protests mark Myanmar pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi’s detention
  • Myanmar’s ruling junta strongly criticized for cracking down on demonstrations
  • Day of protest featured demonstrations outside Chinese embassies in 12 cities
  • UK PM Gordon Brown calls for tougher sanctions against Myanmar regime

LONDON, England (CNN) — Campaigners held a day of protests around the world Wednesday to highlight the plight of Nobel Peace Prize winner and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and mark another year of her house arrest in Myanmar.The protests were taking place outside Chinese embassies in London and 11 other cities — one city for each year of Suu Kyi’s detention. The pro-democracy leader has been held for 12 of the past 18 years.About 100 people turned out for the London protest, some wearing white robes and masks of Suu Kyi’s face. Others had their hands bound with rope and others held chains they say are used to torture political prisoners in Myanmar.The protesters, who were joined by a group of monks in crimson robes, held posters reading “Free Aung San Suu Kyi Now” and “China’s Gain, Burma’s Pain.””The message is that China needs to do more on Burma,” said Mark Farmaner, acting director of Burma Campaign UK, referring to Myanmar’s former official name.He said China needs to use its influence with Myanmar’s leaders to continue pushing for Suu Kyi’s release.Myanmar’s ruling junta has been strongly criticized for last month’s violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. The government has admitted detaining more than 2,900 people from the protests and several hundred are believed to be still in custody.The day of protest also coincides with the United Nations’ 62nd birthday, and organizers said they were using that to urge action from the U.N. Security Council.”The U.N. must do more than issue statements of concern,” said Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK.In a statement earlier this month, the council said it “strongly deplores the use of violence against peaceful demonstrations in Myanmar” and it called on the junta to work towards a dialogue with Suu Kyi.Wednesday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown threatened tougher sanctions against the Myanmar regime if it does not end the violence, release prisoners, and allow a process of national reconciliation.In an article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Brown said the reconciliation process must include all opposition leaders, including Suu Kyi.The Guardian also published a letter from six female Nobel peace laureates urging more action from the United Nations. The women, who founded the Nobel Women’s Initiative, called on more U.N. pressure to release Suu Kyi and other members of the opposition.Myanmar’s junta agreed Tuesday to allow a U.N. human rights investigator to make an official visit next month. The United Nations says the visit by Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar Paolo Sergio Pinheiro will take place in the first half of November.Ibrahim Gambari, the U.N. special envoy for Myanmar, is also expected to return to Myanmar early next month. Bookmark with:


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