Aung San Suu Kyi Leads Hundreds in Martyr’s Day March

Posted July 19th, 2011 at 6:20 am (UTC-5)
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Burmese democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi led hundreds of supporters through the streets of Rangoon in a Martyr's Day march Tuesday to honor her father and other fallen national heroes.

A reporter for VOA's Burmese service says more than 2,000 people joined the procession to the Martyr's Mausoleum, including about 100 members of the Nobel laureate's National League for Democracy. Police did not interfere with the march, which was Burma's largest public demonstration in years.

Earlier Tuesday, Aung San Suu Kyi took part in a government-sanctioned ceremony at the mausoleum, which was built in memory of her father, Aung San, and other Burmese independence leaders who were assassinated on July 19, 1947. It was her first appearance at the annual ceremony since she was placed under house arrest in 2003.

The government this week had invited the outspoken political leader to take part in the ceremony, along with other descendents of the independence heroes.

Following the afternoon march, the NLD issued a statement urging the government to hold a meaningful dialogue with opposition groups and to release all political prisoners.

The NLD was ordered to disband as a political party after it refused to participate in elections in November, complaining the rules were unfair. Its appeal of the decision through the courts was rejected.

The 2010 elections produced a government that is overwhelmingly controlled by members and close allies of the long-ruling military junta that preceded it. More than 2,000 political prisoners remain in the country's jails.