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Page last updated at 05:29 GMT, Thursday, 19 June 2008 06:29 UK

Suu Kyi birthday marked in Burma

Aung San Suu Kyi pictured on 30 January 2008
Aung San Suu Kyi is being held under house arrest in Rangoon

In Burma supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi gave alms to monks as they marked the detained pro-democracy leader's 63rd birthday.

Security personnel watched as dozens of people handed out food at the National League for Democracy headquarters.

Last month the military junta renewed Ms Suu Kyi's house arrest for another year. She has spent more than 12 of the last 18 years in detention.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appealed for her release.

"This deplorable situation must end," she said in a statement.

She accused leaders of backtracking on "modest steps" made in the wake of last September's anti-government protests and of denying the detained leader regular access to medical care and legal counsel.

The regime "should release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and begin a genuine dialogue with her and other democratic and ethnic minority leaders on a transition to democracy", she said.

Doves

In the main city, Rangoon, supporters gave food to monks at the main NLD building.

"Later, we will release nine doves to bring peace and freedom to Daw Suu Kyi," one party member told the French news agency AFP.

Aung San Suu Kyi led the NLD to a landslide victory in elections in 1990 but the party was never allowed to take office.

Last month the government said people had overwhelmingly backed a military-drafted new constitution that bars her from political office.

Rights groups and Western diplomats have condemned the referendum as a farce.

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