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In a speech marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of the National League for Democracy (NLD) on Friday, Aung San Suu Kyi insisted the party’s decades-long struggle had been worth it.
She added that the party continued to extend a “hand of friendship and peace” to the Burmese military.
While hundreds of NLD cadres and supporters crammed into the party headquarters in central Rangoon, hundreds more gathered outside where a screen had been erected for the occasion of the party’s so-called “Silver Jubilee”.
“We have been able to survive for the last 25 years because of the help and support of people from all over the world who believe in the same values we believe,” said Suu Kyi, switching to English.
“To survive was an achievement,” she said, reiterating that for 24 of the party’s 25 years the NLD did not have the freedom to operate openly.
She emphasised that national reconciliation remains a priority for the party, and that it still held out a “hand of friendship and peace” to the country’s military.
In 1990 the NLD won general elections with a landslide victory which was never recognised by the military junta. Many NLD leaders and supporters were arrested or fled into exile in the coming years while Suu Kyi spent nearly 15 under house arrest.