Burma’s Suu Kyi Celebrates Her 66th Birthday in Freedom
Burma’s Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi celebrated her 66th birthday in freedom with her son and well-wishers in Rangoon on Sunday.
For her first free birthday in almost a decade she met her youngest son, Kim Aris, a British national at the Rangoon International Airport.
The cheering crowd welcomed the pro-democracy leader at her National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Rangoon with flowers, balloons, lighted candles and singing.
[Ko Min Thein, Member, National League for Democracy]:
„Long live Mother Suu Kyi. I believe she is the only one who can achieve freedom, democracy and human rights for our country. We can’t get there without her.“
Suu Kyi, who has spent 15 of the past 22 years in some form of detention in struggle against military dictatorship, has become a pro-democracy icon for Burmese people.
She was first detained in 1989, a year after she emerged as a champion of political reform during an unsuccessful, student-led democracy uprising.
[Ma Wai Wai Khin, Suu Kyi Supporter]:
„I wish for Suu Kyi a long life and success in her struggle for democracy as soon as possible.“
Suu Kyi was released last November shortly after national elections in the former British colony also known as Burma, which has been subject to widespread international sanctions since a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests in 1988.
Her NLD party won a landslide election victory in 1990, only to be denied power by the military, which has ruled the country since 1962.
The party has no official role but is expected to play a significant part in any future review of sanctions.
[Aung San Suu Kyi]:
„The most important birthday present for me is for each of you to please continue working for peace in our country.“
Filipino activists marked Suu Kyi’s birthday by rallying in front of the Burmese Embassy in Manila on Friday to demand the release of political prisoners and ask for genuine democratic change in Burma.
Protesters wore masks bearing Suu Kyi’s image, while others were dressed as prisoners and carried fake shackles and a prison cell.