Burma solidarity protest to be held in Sri Lanka

May 26, 2008 (DVB), Sri Lanka-based non-governmental organization Friends of the Third World have appealed to the Sri Lankan people to join them in a protest to show solidarity with the people of Burma.

The demonstration will be held in front of the Burmese embassy on 27 May, and aims to show support for the democracy movement in Burma and call for restrictions to be lifted on international aid to cyclone victims.

Freddy Gamage, the group's coordinator. said the protest had three main objectives: to pressure the Burmese military junta to allow international aid in to areas devastated by Cyclone Nargis, to urge the results of the 1990 general election to be honoured, and to bring democracy to the country.

"Our group’s policy is to support countries in the world that are fighting for democracy," Gamage said.

"In Burma, we see the military government refusing to accept result of the 1990 elections and the people of Burma fighting for democracy and struggling in their daily life," he said.

"That’s why we decided to organise this event to help support the democracy movement in Burma."

He said the group will also call for the release of opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in a letter to be handed to Burmese embassy officials on the day of the protest.

"We would also like to urge the Burmese government to immediately allow direct aid from the international community to the victims of the cyclone which killed a very large number of people," he said.

"It is shameful that the Burmese government has refused international help."

The Burmese military regime has said it will now admit foreign aid workers, but they have still not been given unrestricted access to victims.

The group invited all Sri Lankan citizens with an interest in supporting democracy in Burma to join them with in the protest tomorrow.

"We are going to make a very strong demand to allow in aid from the UN and the international community and also to release Daw Suu who can bring a lot of help to the cyclone victims," Gamage said.

Reporting by Yee May Aung

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