A government-sponsored social organization in Burma has leveled new criticism of pro-democracy groups, calling them traitors who align themselves with destructive elements from overseas.
The accusation, from the so-called Union Solidarity and Development Association, was made at a rally in the capital, Rangoon, on Wednesday. It was reported in the official media Thursday, and attributed to Thet Naing Oo, a spokesman for the organization.
He accused several pro-democracy groups by name of engaging in drug trafficking or terrorist acts. The Burmese government often refers to pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her colleagues as traitors who oppose national reconciliation.
This week, President Bush renewed U.S. economic sanctions against Burma to protest the continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi. Washington has called repeatedly for Burma to speed up democratic reforms.
Information for this report is provided by AP.