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The Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi spoke of unity as she visited Bago, north of Rangoon, in what was her first political trip since the end of her house arrest nine months ago.
Ms Suu Kyi was met by cheering crowds while her cortege drove through the countryside. Financial Times could report that she visited a temple and opened a library funded by her outlawed National League for Democracy party (NLD).
“I know what the people want and I am trying my best to fulfill the wished of the people,” she said during the library inauguration. “However, I don’t want to give false hope.”
The last time Ms Suu Kyi, 66, went on a similar trip, her convoy was attacked by a mob which was widely considered to be affiliated with the old military government. The incident left up to 70 NLD supporters dead and resulted in the opposition leader’s seven-year-long house arrest. The regime initially argued that the detention was for her own protection.
The Burmese had warned about similar consequences today and security agents were present to monitor the convoy. However, BBC reported that recent talks between the de facto opposition leader and a government minister revealed interest from both sides to move closer for a more stable and democratic Burma.
The signs of relaxation on behalf of the government were apparent as Ms Suu Kyi managed to reach the library safely and delivered a speech to about 600 people who had turned up in hopes of seeing the living legend.
“We can develop this country only when we all work together,” she said. “Unity is a strength, unity is needed everywhere and it is needed especially in our country.” She also vowed to continue her work “as much as I can,” wrote the BBC.
Last years elections were boycotted by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party on grounds that it was riddled with intimidation and vote-rigging. Critics of the current government say that little has changed since November because the civilian administration is led by retired military figures — and thus a proxy for the former junta, according to Financial Times.
Ms Suu Kyi was released in November shortly after the elections, after seven years of house arrest. Two thousand political prisoners have yet to be granted their freedom.
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/35803015@N03/