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Burmese Opposition Calls For Dialogue - 2003-11-18


Burma's pro-democracy opposition has marked the country's National Day by calling on the military government to begin a real dialogue on political reform.

National Day commemorates the first student boycott against British colonial rulers 83 years ago. That rebellion inspired Burma's independence movement.

In observance of the day today (Tuesday), a group of veteran politicians issued a statement that said dialogue is the only way to peace and reconciliation in Burma. They also called on the government to release some 13-hundred political prisoners.

The country's main opposition National League for Democracy party held an informal National Day observance at a Buddhist monastery in suburban Rangoon. Police watched closely and videotaped those who attended.

It was the biggest assembly of opposition party members since the May 30th clash between a pro-government mob and pro-democracy supporters in northern Burma.

That clash led to the arrest and detention of several opposition figures, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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