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Burma Military Urges People to Protect New Democracy

Burma's junta chief Senior Gen. Than Shwe is seen during a dinner to mark the 63rd anniversary of Independence Day in Naypyitaw, January 04, 2011

The head of Burma's military has urged people to protect the country's new democratic system.

In his annual Union Day message Saturday, Senior General Than Shwe called for the nation's citizens to build together and safeguard what he called a "democracy system" that is "still in its infancy."

The message was published in the state-controlled media and read out by Vice President-elect Tin Aung Myint Oo, another leading member of the military government.

Than Shwe also warned it is mandatory for everyone to tackle any forms of disruptions to the new system.

Western nations regard Burma's transition to democracy as a charade and say last year's election was orchestrated to keep the military in power.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.