11/08/2007, 00.00
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Gambari leaves empty handed but a new generation of activists is emerging

UN special envoy’s mission strikes out. Envoy does meet pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the last minute. In Yangon new youth movements continue protests launched by monks, predicts another popular movement will develop, stronger and broader than September’s.

Yangon (AsiaNews) – Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi today met United Nations Special Envoy in Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari. After the meeting she returned to her home in Yangon, where she has lived under house arrest since 2003. She had been taken to a government house in a car with darkened windows for talks with the Nigerian diplomat. No details have transpired so far about what she and the UN representative said in their third meeting since a violent government crackdown ended a protest movement last September.

After his tête-à-tête with the Nobel Prize laureate, Gambari departed for Singapore. During his six-day stay in Myanmar shuttling between Naypydaw and Yangon, he met two senior members of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), as the ruling junta styles itself, as well as representatives of the country’s ethnic minorities, local International Red Cross officials, and members of Ms Suu Kyi’s opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD). He was not however granted an audience with Burma's military strongman Than Shwe. And his attempt to organise a meeting between Ms Suu Kyi, the generals and the United Nations came to naught.

In light of the situation United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon said he was worried about the fate of the Gambari mission.

Only positive sign in an otherwise bleak picture is the pledge made by the Myanmar government to allow the pro-democracy leader to meet her party’s top officials, something she has not been allowed to do since 2004.

Despite international pressure for the release of political prisoners and in favour of a transition towards democracy, the ruling military junta continues to defend its actions against the international community, urging outsiders not to interfere in the internal affairs of another nation.

A new generation of activists

In the wake of the military crackdown and attempt to silence the peaceful monk-led movement, people are reorganising themselves in new groups with new ways of protesting.

Mizzima News reports that a new generation of activists calling themselves the ‘Generation Wave’ has taken to the streets, handing out anti-junta flyers and posters in Yangon, as part of a new effort to revive the spirit of the people's movement of September.

The new group, which is made up of mostly young people, is connected to the 1988 generation, which also dared to stand up against the dictatorship. Their material carries messages such as 'CNG (Change New Government)' and 'FFF (Freedom From Fear)', as well as verses from a student leader, now detained, Min Ko Naing

Their campaign is run by the Administration Committee for People’s Movement, a group that includes Buddhist monks, pro-democracy activists and students. At present it is targeting state-run newspapers, like the junta’s mouthpiece The New Light of Myanmar, copies of which protesters are buying, ripping up and scattering in various parts of the city.

Another group calling itself the Freedom Fighters is hanging purple monk robes on the trees that line some of the city’s streets.

Generation Wave’s Kyaw Kyaw said that if ad hoc protests continue, a popular movement stronger than the one in September will soon rise across the country.

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