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Burma's Military Launchers Attack Against Opposition Leader - 2003-07-06


Burma's military rulers have launched a new attack on detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

State-controlled newspapers carried an official commentary today (Saturday), calling the head of the National League for Democracy "willful and hard-headed." The commentary says the Nobel peace prize laureate is prone to "rash judgment" and "blind action."

Official Burmese newspapers also published photographs showing Aung San Suu Kyi shaking hands with military leader General Than Shwe and dining with him and other senior military figures. The caption reads "family dinner."

The newspapers did not say when or where the meeting was supposed to have taken place.

The military detained Aung San Suu Kyi May 30th, after pro-government groups attacked her motorcade, as she toured northern Burma.

The government says four people were killed in the clash. But two eyewitnesses say up to 70 people were killed, when a drunken mob of about three-thousand people attacked the opposition leader's convoy with iron rods, bats and bamboo sticks.

The witnesses, who have since left Burma and now are in Thailand, told a Thai Senate panel (in Bangkok) Friday that Aung San Suu Kyi escaped injury only because her car sped away.

Aung San Suu Kyi's detention has sparked an international outcry and prompted some countries to threaten tough economic sanctions against the already impoverished nation.

During a meeting in Tokyo Friday with Burma's deputy foreign minister, Khin Maung Win, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said her government will suspend new economic aid to Rangoon until it frees the opposition leader.

Khin Maung Win appealed for understanding and said the detention was only temporary, but Japanese officials dismissed his statements and demanded a definite date for her release.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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