Veteran politicians celebrate national day

Dec 5, 2007 (DVB), Celebrations to mark the 87th national day in Burma were held by veteran political activists and opposition figures in Rangoon yesterday, according to veteran politician Chan Htun.

The celebrations began at around 8am with about 150 people attending, including political activists and leaders from ethnic political groups, the 88 generation students and the National League for Democracy.

A statement read out during the event said that the problems facing the Burmese people had still not been solved.

"Today is the 87th anniversary of national day, the day the Burmese people, led by students, began the fight for independence against British colonial rule," the statement said.

"But instead of Burma becoming a developed, successful and peaceful country after independence, we are still struggling today with conflict, ethnic divisions and political problems."

The statement also called for the release of political prisoners and ethnic leaders.

In his own speech, Chan Htun urged Than Shwe and other military leaders to tackle the problems in Burma with kindness and to embark immediately on meaningful dialogue.

Thein Pe, a 92-year-old politician, gave a speech calling for patience and understanding to bring about dialogue that could benefit everyone.

Following this event, another national day celebration was held at around 12noon at the NLD headquarters.

About 400 people came to this event, including those who had attended the earlier celebration.

In the opening speech, NLD chairman U Aung Shwe called for unity among the opposition.

"This is the day that we show our peaceful unity in our fight for freedom and independence," he said.

"We have a history of being able to overcome dictatorship and we should remain united so that we may one day reach our goal."

Reporting by Maung Too

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