Friday, 20 June 2008

Junta continues tightening security outside NLD office

By Myint Maung & Phanida
Mizzima News - 20 June 2008

The Burmese military junta authorities have beefed up security in front of the office of the opposition party – the National League for Democracy - in the former capital Rangoon. Eyewitnesses said that at least seven military trucks were seen in front of the NLD office.

An eyewitness said at least 50 officers, believed to be from the military intelligence, are seen loitering in front of the NLD office in Shwegondine Street in Bahan Township, while several soldiers, policemen and Swan Arr Shin members, were seen in seven military, police and prison trucks on the edge of the street.

Eyewitness also said several other military trucks full of soldiers, policemen and Swan Arr Shin have been spotted stationed on the rear and surrounding roads of the NLD office.

An NLD youth leader, who is currently attending the party's bi-annual meeting at the NLD headquarters, said he had seen about eight trucks with fully equipped soldiers on the Yetharshea Street, east of the NLD office.

"I believe security has been beefed up because of our bi-annual meeting today. We are now here discussing and reviewing the experiences of Burma's referendum in May," the youth leader told Mizzima over telephone.

NLD's spokesperson Nyan Win said, authorities have continued tightening security in front of the office since Thursday, when several party youths were arrested for demanding the release of detained party leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on her 63rd birthday.

Nyan Win said while over a dozen youths were arrested out of the nearly 700 protesters, the party could so far identify only ten of the youths.

"So far we don't know where they have been taken to and we have not been informed. This is a shear act of violence on us [NLD], as those arresting our youths do not have any authority to do so," Nyan Win said.

On Thursday, following an official gathering to mark detained party General Secretary Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's 63rd birthday at the NLD office, several youth members of the party staged a protest in front of the office calling for the immediate release of their leader.

However, the protest was short-lived, when members of the junta-backed civil organizations Swan Arr Shin and Union Solidarity and Development Committee (USDA) intervened and arrested several key members of the NLD-youth, Nyan Win said.

"They [authorities] are doing whatever they want, arresting, investigating and beating people up," Dr. Win Naing, a member of the NLD's information and communication committee, told Mizzima.

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