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Security Relaxed at Aung San Suu Kyi's Rangoon Home

Members of Burma's opposition party say authorities have removed barbed wire barriers and reduced security around the Rangoon home of detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Witnesses near the lakeside compound where the Nobel Peace Prize winner has been detained for 13 of the last 19 years said barricades and checkpoints preventing people from going near her house have been removed.

However, witnesses said the gate to her compound remains closed.

In a statement Saturday, leaders at the Asia-Europe meeting in Beijing encouraged the Burmese government to lift restrictions on political parties and release political prisoners.

Friday marked Aung San Suu Kyi's 13th year of house arrest.

She was originally arrested 19 years ago, in 1989, and has been largely restricted to her Rangoon home with only brief periods of freedom since then.

Thursday, the U.S. State Department and the European Parliament renewed calls for her release.

The Burmese government says it is implementing democratic reforms, but critics argue recent changes to the constitution tighten the military's grip on power.

Massive pro-democracy protests spread throughout Burma in June 2007 before authorities crushed the demonstrations. The United Nations says at least 31 people were killed and thousands more detained in the crackdown.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.