03/17/2009, 00.00
MYANMAR
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Burmese military junta arrests another leader connected to Aung San Suu Kyi

An activist denounces the attempt to "destroy all those who are politically active" before the elections in 2010. Thousands of arrests ordered by the dictatorship against political opponents.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) - There has been a new arrest of a representative of the National League for Democracy, the party headed by Nobel peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. The military junta has launched a campaign aimed at uprooting the opposition in Myanmar in view of the political elections in 2010.

At 1:30 in the morning on March 16, the authorities of South Dagon Myothit - a town in the district of Yangon - arrested local NLD representative Kyi Lwin and took him to prison. "I was told around 30 policemen came to his house and arrested him," says NLD spokesman Nyan Win, on the dissident website Democratic Voice of Burma. "His health is not good. He is over 50 and has had a stroke."

Kyi Lwin is the fifth political opponent arrested in March. In recent days, the junta has also imprisoned Myint Myint San (better known as Ma Cho), Sein Hlaing, Shwe Gyo, and Thein Lwin. In Myanmar, the voices against the regime are denouncing a campaign aimed at "uprooting the opposition" and "destroying all those who are politically active" before the elections. "The NLD is a legal party in Burma and it has the right to rally freely," stresses Bo Kyi, joint secretary of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. "By unfairly destroying it, the [State Peace and Development Council] is doing the opposite of its slogan that it is substantiating democracy."

There are 2,131 political prisoners in Myanmar, including 15 members of Parliament, 229 students, 220 monks, 47 members of the movement "88 Generation Students," and 456 representatives of the NLD. From August 21, 2007 - the beginning of the "saffron revolution" promoted by the Burmese monks - until March 12, 2009, the military has arrested 1,055 protest participants, including 147 monks; another 110 are on trial at the moment, 446 have been sentenced to prison, and there are 19 detained in the labor camps.

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