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Myanmar frees 15 opposition members who marched to pro-democracy leader's house

Myanmar frees 15 opposition members who marched to pro-democracy leader's house

Myanmar's ruling military junta has freed 15 opposition party members who were detained last month for demanding the release of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, a party spokesman said Tuesday.
The 15 members of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy were shoved into police trucks and hauled away on May 27 after they marched from the party's headquarters to her house to demand her freedom.
"All 15 party members were freed last night," NLD spokesman Nyan Win said.
They had been held for two weeks inside a compound that once served as a government technical school on the outskirts of Yangon. The site has been used to hold hundreds of Buddhist monks and other citizens following pro-democracy protests in September that were violently suppressed by the military.
Pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi has been held under house arrest for more than 12 of the past 18 years.
Last month, the junta extended her detention by another year, sparking worldwide outrage from supporters who called the move illegal. Under Myanmar law, no one can be held more than five years without a trial. Suu Kyi's most recent arrest was in May 2003.
The extension came as the junta faced worldwide criticism for refusing to accept many offers of international assistance after Cyclone Nargis, which struck May 2-3.
The storm killed 78,000 people and left 56,000 others missing, according to the junta. An estimated 2.4 million people remain in desperate need of food, shelter and medical care.
The ruling generals have long regarded Suu Kyi, the daughter of martyred independence leader Gen. Aung San, as the biggest threat to their power. Her party is the country's largest legal opposition group.
U.N. efforts to push the junta into a dialogue with Suu Kyi after last September's protests have largely failed.
Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in absentia in 1991 for her nonviolent efforts to promote democracy.


Updated : 2021-05-11 13:44 GMT+08:00