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Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace laureate, has come to symbolise the struggle of Burma's people to be free.
She returned to Burma in 1988 to nurse her dying mother and was immediately plunged into the country's nationwide democracy uprising. Joining the newly formed National League for Democracy (NLD), Suu Kyi gave numerous speeches calling for freedom and democracy. The military regime responded to the uprising with brute force, killing up to 5,000 demonstrators. Unable to maintain its grip on power, the regime was forced to call a general election in 1990.
As Aung San Suu Kyi began to campaign for the NLD, she and many others were detained by the regime. Despite being held under house arrest, the NLD went on to win a staggering 82% of the seats in parliament. The regime never recognized the results of the election.
Aung San Suu Kyi spent more than 15 years in detention, most of it under house arrest.
Burma remains a dictatorship. It is not democratic despite the recent staging of the sham elections. Her release is simply political spin on behalf of the dictatorship to give a sense of change to try and persuade the international community to relax pressure on them.
When Aung San Suu Kyi was temporarily released in 2002 she said: My release should not be looked at as a major breakthrough for democracy. For all people in Burma to enjoy basic freedom - that would be the major breakthrough."
Aung San Suu Kyi was released on Saturday November 13th 2010 but there are over 2,200 other political prisoners in Burma.
Take action now to free the people of Burma at: www.burmacampaign.org.uk
Burma is ruled by one of the world's most brutal dictatorships. Each year tens of thousands of people are used as slave labour, rape is used as a weapon of war, villagers are used as 'human minesweepers' - forced to walk in front of columns of soldiers to detect landmines. Poverty is the same as in the poorest conflict countries of Africa but the dictatorship blocks aid from reaching large parts of the country.
In the jungles and mountains in the east of the country, Burma's dictatorship is waging a war against ethnic minorities, driving hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. More than 3,500 villages have been destroyed in the past 15 years.
Show your support for Aung San Suu Kyi – wear our Free Burma t-shirt!
They are fair-trade and organic and all profits go to the Burma Campaign UK.