Several pro-democracy activists were arrested today outside the headquarters of the National League for Democracy in Yangon, Burma. Over 100 people had assembled to offer food to monks as a religious offering for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on the occasion of her 63rd birthday.
Burmese exiles demanding her release are demonstrating in many countries, while democracy and human rights activists worldwide are saluting the NLD’s leader. The World Movement for Democracy is one of many groups marking the occasion, joining with the All Burma Monks’ Alliance, the 88 Generation Students and other groups working for the freedom of the Burmese people, in calling on the international community to act to protect them.
The All Burma Monks’ Alliance, which organized the Yangon protests, said today that Than Shwe, the leader of the ruling junta, should face trial for crimes against humanity for blocking relief supplies following Cyclone Nargis. “The actions of the junta leave millions of people to die from starvation and infectious diseases in the delta region,” the monks said in a statement.
Burmese democrats have been patient, flexible and inventive, not least in their creative use of the Internet. But Burma’s ASEAN partners have been loathe to offend the junta’s Chinese backers and have consistently refused – along with much of the West, with half an eye on the country’s rich natural resources – to impose meaningful sanctions.
Learn more about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the current situation in Burma from the Campaign for Burma.