September 14, 2000; Thursday 8:34 AM, Eastern Time
Myanmar Security Restrictions Lifted
BYLINE: AYE AYE WIN
DATELINE: YANGON, Myanmar
Myanmar's military government lifted security restrictions Thursday on
democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and eight other
opposition leaders who had been confined to their homes for the last two
The opposition leaders ''are no longer required to stay at their respective
residences'' and have been allowed to resume ''their
daily activities as usual,'' a government statement said.
Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy said it will test the government's
sincerity on Friday, when the party reopens its
headquarters, which had also been shut by the government as part of the
restrictions since Sept. 1.
NLD vice chairman Tin Oo, freed from home by the lifting of restrictions,
was among the first people to visit Suu Kyi at her
He said party leaders will once again try to travel outside the capital,
Yangon, for party work. The previous attempt by Suu Kyi
and Tin Oo to drive to the town of Kungyangone had led to the security
''We will find out if we will be allowed freedom of movement. We will travel
again because we did not reach Kungyangone last
time. So we will try again,'' Tin Oo told The Associated Press.
Suu Kyi, Tin Oo and a group of party youth members were blocked by security
forces outside Yangon on Aug. 24 and
ordered to go back. They refused and camped out beside their vehicle for
nine days before police forcibly transported them
back to Yangon. Subsequently, Suu Kyi, Tin Oo and seven other party leaders
were confined to their homes under virtual
During their confinement, the leaders were not allowed any visitors and
their phone lines were cut.
On Thursday, U.S. charge d'affaires Priscilla Clapp went to the home of Suu
Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her
pro-democracy work here. Suu Kyi told Clapp that the NLD has been allowed to
resume party work, a U.S. Embassy
spokesman said on condition of anonymity.
''They are back in business to the extent they can do business in this
country,'' the spokesman said.
Security officers were removed Thursday from outside NLD headquarters, as
well as the houses of Tin Oo and treasurer
Nyunt Wai. Tin Oo's home telephone was also restored.
Tin Oo said the government lifted the restrictions ''partly because of
The latest restrictions on Suu Kyi's movements drew vehement international
criticism, mainly by the United States and Britain.
They accused the regime of blatantly violating the Myanmar democracy
leader's political rights. The government justified the
restrictions by saying it was investigating what it says are the party's
links with terrorists.
Thursday's government statement expressed its appreciation for the
cooperation of senior NLD members in staying at home as
requested during the investigation. It said the government regrets ''the
inconvenience caused to those involved.''
Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her peaceful struggle
for democracy in Myanmar, also known as
Burma, which has been ruled by its military since 1962. She spent six years
under house arrest, from 1989 to 1995.
The current crop of generals came to power in 1988 after a bloody crackdown
on a nationwide uprising for civilian rule. The
uprising catapulted Suu Kyi to political prominence. In 1990, the NLD won
national elections but was prevented by the military
regime from taking power.
In another development Thursday, NLD chairman Aung Shwe met with the
third-ranking general in the government, Khin
Nyunt, who is the secretary-one of the ruling State Peace and Development
Council, diplomats said on condition of anonymity.
''We have had a fruitful meeting,'' Khin Nyunt was quoted as saying in the
government statement. No further details were
available of the rare meeting between the NLD and the regime.