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Monday, September 27, 1999 Published at 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Burma's party spoiler

Aung San Suu Kyi's movements have often been restricted

The authorities in Burma have blocked roads leading to the headquarters of the opposition National League for Democracy on the day the party marks its 11th anniversary.

It is the third time in three weeks that the security forces have restricted access to the party's offices in the capital, Rangoon.

Groups of riot police and plain-clothes intelligence officers guarded the streets on either side of no-entry signs set up on the access roads.

The party - which won a landslide victory in general elections in 1990, but was prevented by the military rulers from taking power - had been planning a low-key ceremony to mark the anniversary of its founding on 27 September 1988.

The National League for Democracy, led by 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, was formed after the military regime assumed power in 1988, following the bloody suppression of the pro-democracy movement.


Similar restrictions were imposed on access to the party office for two days around 9 September, when the authorities took precautions against calls for anti-government protests on "9-9-99" day.

Roads were blocked again on 16 September, the first anniversary of the setting up by the party of a 10-member committee to represent parliament.

Military strongman General Khin Nyunt has warned that groups like the National League for Democracy were endangering the sovereignty of the country.

According to the state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar, he spoke on Sunday of "destructive groups and their Western masters who continue to endanger the national sovereignty in their attempt to cause disintegration of the union and loss of independence".

Under fire

[ image: Rachel Goldwyn: British protester jailed]
Rachel Goldwyn: British protester jailed
Burma's human rights record has come under the spotlight this month because of the imprisonment of two young British protesters who publicly declared support for the country's democracy movement.

A UK Foreign Office report in London has accused the government in Rangoon of presiding over a system of summary executions, torture, rape and detention without trial.

But the Burmese Government has dismissed this complaint and a separate report by the United Nations condemning its human rights record.

Foreign Minister Win Aung told the United Nations General Assembly on Friday: "Here, I wish to underscore that the government does not condone any violations of human rights."

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