Sole Myanmar protester demands activists’ release

From The Associated Press

A lone demonstrator staged a silent protest in front of detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party headquarters Saturday demanding the military government free all student activists as the country celebrated its National Day.

The holiday commemorates a boycott by Yangon University students 88 years ago in defiance of British colonial rule, a protest that inspired Myanmar’s independence movement.

Although the government does not hold any public events to mark the day, Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy regularly celebrates with a party.

Before the celebration, party member Min Thein walked into the middle of the street in front of the party headquarters and stood silently with a placard reading, “Release Min Ko Naing and other political prisoners.”

Min Ko Naing is a member of the 88 Generation Students group, which participated in a brutally suppressed 1988 democratic uprising. Along with many of his fellow former students he was sentenced to 65 years in prison this month for taking part in an Aug. 21, 2007, street protest against a massive fuel price hike by the government.

Plainclothes police took videos and photos of Min Thein’s lone protest but did not arrest him during the minutes he stood silently.

“I am expressing my feelings and I am ready to face all consequences,” Min Thein told reporters after the protest.

The party marked the anniversary by calling for the release of all political prisoners, including student activists and Buddhist monks who were arrested during anti-government demonstrations in September last year.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi has spent more than 13 of the past 19 years under house arrest.

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