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Burmese Activists Gather 500,000 Signatures

Pro-democracy activists in Burma say they have collected more than 500,000 signatures on a petition calling for the release of political prisoners in the country.

Organizers say the petition drive ended this week. They say they plan to submit the petition to the United Nations.

The signature campaign - seen as a rare show of protest in Burma - was launched earlier this month by an informal group of pro-democracy leaders who were key figures in the 1988 movement that sought to end military rule.

Five of the group's members had been detained a few days before the campaign began.

The petition demands the release of all political prisoners, including pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and urges the military government to hold talks with opposition and ethnic minority leaders.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP .