More than 200 people yesterday joined a ‘heated-up’ demonstration in front of Burmese Embassy in London, as part of a global day of action for Aung San Suu Kyi, whose ‘illegal’ trial has drawn into a second day in Rangoon’s notorious Insein Prison after being charged with breaching security laws following an intrusion by the American swimmer into her lakeside residence.
The protesters, angered by the brutal and inhumane behaviours of SPDC, demanded the immediate release of Burma’s pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi along with other political prisoners, shouting slogans including ‘Free innocent Aung San Suu Kyi, right now’.
Anna Roberts, Director of Burma Campaign UK, told Chinland Guardian: “Today, there has been a fantastic turnout demonstrating in front of the Burmese Embassy in London. It shows that how angry people are at what the regime has done, arresting Aung San Suu Kyi on trumped-up charges and trying to keep her in detention.”
“Clearly, the regime wants to make sure that Aung San Suu Kyi and all voices that represent are squashed before their sham election in 2010 next year. What was very clear from the demonstration today is that people want to see the international communities take actions and to see the United Nations, the EU and Burma’s neighbours translate what they have said ‘they are concerned about Aung San Suu Kyi’ into actions.”
London-based Burmese Embassy was closed on the day with a placard reading ‘Today, Embassy is temporarily closed. Sorry for the inconvenience’. The London Police had to block the street as it was filled up with protesters including mothers with babies.
Benedict Rogers, East Asia Team Leader of Christian Solidarity Worldwide UK, told Chinland Guardian: “Today is a very important demonstration and an important expression of outrage, anger, and disgust at the decision by the regime to put Aung San Suu Kyi in Insein prison and to come up with full charges. And I think all of us here are expressing that outrage. We need to see Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as representative of the sufferings in the whole of Burma and it is absolutely right that we focus on her plights today and in the immediate future because her situation is very grave and dangerous and she is such an important person for all of Burma but we also need to remember the sufferings of the peoples of Burma. And until all the people of Burma can be free, we will not stay silent.”
“We hope that the leaders of this world – of the UN, of the EU, of China and ASEAN – will also hear their consciences and will stop working with this regime and stop tolerating what they are doing, and actually take action to free Aung San Suu Kyi and to bring an end to the suffering of the people of Burma,” continued Ben Rogers, highlighting in his message the famous speech of Martin Luther King saying ‘stand up for truth, righteousness and justice’.
Other key speakers included representatives from National League for Democracy (Liberated Area, UK), Women of Burma UK, Burma Muslin Association, Karen National Union, Kachin National Organisation, Chin Community, Arakan Rohingya National Organisation, Wai Hnin Pwint Thon (daughter of political prisoner Mya Aye), Burma Democratic Concern, human rights activists and other Burmese organisations.
Miss Dim Lian, on behalf of the Chin in the UK, told the protesters: “The Chin people are also deeply saddened by the awakening of this horrendous news. Shocking as it is, but I hope this may not come to you all as a surprise, as we are immune to the Burmese authority’s inhumane and relentless behaviours.”
“Burma is a country known for its brutal regime’s atrocities against its own people mainly on three accounts: ethnicity, politics and religion. The charge against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is the most visible manifestation of the regime’s atrocity and brutality. She is a woman who sacrifices her freedom for the freedom of Burmese people. We, the Chin people, pray that God will sustain her, comfort her and keep her in peace in this most difficult time,” she added.
After the demonstration, a group of Burmese protesters started a 24-hour hunger strike to show their solidarity with Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.
A multi-faith prayer service, where Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and non-believers gathered in unity, was last Sunday held at a Buddhist monastery in Colindale, North London. A Chin pastor, who wants to remain unnamed, attended the service, representing the Chin and Burmese Christians in the UK.
The global day of action for Aung San Suu Kyi took place in more than 20 cities around the world, calling on world’s leaders and the international communities to take action on Burma and to free Aung San Suu Kyi, whose terms of detention is officially expiring late this month.
By Van Biak Thang
19 May, 2009