News / Asia

Rangoon Diary: Burmese Reunite with Beloved Democracy Leader

Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, flanked by her party officials, talks to the supporters at the gate of her home in Rangoon, 13 Nov 2010
Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, flanked by her party officials, talks to the supporters at the gate of her home in Rangoon, 13 Nov 2010

This is a special report from a journalist inside Rangoon, who has been covering Burma's political developments for VOA despite the threat of deportation. The journalist's identity is being withheld so that they may continue reporting. We bring you their notes from the field.

On Saturday evening in Rangoon, Aung San Suu Kyi peered over the top of the gate that has separated her from the rest of Burma for the past seven years.

"It's been so long since I've seen the people," she said to hundreds, if not thousands, of cheering supporters. "I won't say more now, because you can't hear what I'm saying, but I will hold a speech with a loudspeaker tomorrow at the NLD office."

The pushing crowd, which had been crying and sweating, was charmed and let out a collective laugh as they caught their first glimpse of the pro-democracy leader. Dressed in t-shirts bearing Aung San Suu Kyi's image, her supporters held cameras and phones in the air to record the moment, chanting her name and singing the theme song of the National League for Democracy.

Supporters of Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi run towards her home in celebration of her release from house arrest in Rangoon, 13 Nov 2010
Supporters of Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi run towards her home in celebration of her release from house arrest in Rangoon, 13 Nov 2010

It was a highly emotional day for so many people of Burma. The road in front of Aung San Suu Kyi's house has been blockaded on and off for several years, but as soon as the blockades were removed Saturday, streams of people rushed toward her home. In a country with no freedom of assembly, the massive gathering alone was a feat. And Aung San Suu Kyi's release, a triumph.

"We don't know what will happen to her now," said one man who came to show his support with his wife and children. "Because after the elections, we still don't know who is the winner, and what she can do."

"She will do what she can," his wife said. "She will know what to do."

Burma held its first election in 20 years on November 7. The military government branded the vote a move towards democracy. But the opposition and Western governments have called the election a sham, pointing to rampant fraud at the polls and vote counting stations. Final results have not been released. Still, the government's proxy party is claiming to have won some 80 percent of the seats.

1990 election results annuled

The last party to win 80 percent of the votes in a Burmese election was the National League for Democracy in 1990. The opposition's victory against the military government solidified Aung San Suu Kyi's place in the people's hearts, but it also sealed her fate as an enemy of the state. The government annulled the election results, and has held the politician in some form of detention for 15 of the past 21 years.

Despite a recent split in her party, Aung San Suu Kyi remains a unifying force in the political arena and has maintained her ability to bring a crowd together.

"She rules the people's hearts," said a member of the opposition splinter group the National Democratic Force outside Aung San Suu Kyi's house on Saturday. "We are so happy she is out."

Cho Cho Kyaw Nyein, a member of the recently formed Democratic Party, said the opposition parties are making plans together as to how to proceed after the elections, including a plan to cooperate with ethnic parties in border areas.

While Aung San Suu Kyi has won her freedom, more than 2,000 political prisoners remain behind bars in Burma. And the conditions of "The Lady's" release are still unknown.

Timeline of Major Political Events in Burma

on Dipity.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid