Martyrs’ Day invite promising, says Suu Kyi

Permission given by the Burmese government to opposition figureheads to attend the annual Martyrs’ Day ceremony in Rangoon will prove to be beneficial for both sides of the political spectrum in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi has said.

The Nobel laureate was among a number of high-profile figures, including activists and musicians, who yesterday paid their respects at the Martyrs’ Mausoleum, erected to mark the 1947 assassination of her father, General Aung San, Burma’s independence hero.

It was the first time that Suu Kyi, who had been kept under house arrest for much of the past decade before her release in November 2010, attended the event in nine years. She led some 3,000 supporters to the Rangoon site, marking the largest public gathering of Burma’s opposition since the 2007 uprising.

Nyan Win, spokesperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Suu Kyi, said that they had been negotiating with the government prior to yesterday, and were pleased with the invitation.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told us she was very satisfied with the Martyrs’ Day event,” he told DVB yesterday. “This is beneficial for the both sides and provides an example of how negotiations can lead to positive outcomes. [Suu Kyi] said that she was thankful to [authorities] for doing this.”

Earlier this year the NLD, which was formed in 1988 and which won a landslide election victory in 1990 which the regime ignored, was officially disbanded by the government following its refusal to compete in the polls last year.

Since then it has repeatedly lobbied the government to open negotiations to pave the way for its reinstatement, but that has fallen on deaf ears. Nyan Win said that the group was “looking to continue with our effort for negotiations – we see that they are a very good tactic”.

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