Capital’s Burmese community celebrates Suu Kyi’s release

Saturday, November 13, 2010

NEW DELHI - The city’s Burmese community and other supporters of Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi erupted in celebrations after she was released from house arrest in Yangon Saturday.

In a gesture of solidarity, more than 50 exiled Burmese in the city came together at Jantar Mantar, shouting “Long live Aung San Suu Kyi”. The group also held placards with photos of the 65-year old leader and pro-democracy slogans.

She is an inspiration for so many. She gave us hope of a democratic Myanmar. We were disappointed when we received the news of the 2010 elections, but her release is very encouraging. We see change about to happen soon, said Kim, a Burmese student union leader.

Burmese pro-democracy activist Tin Tin Aung, in exile for 22 years, said she was hopeful of finally returning home.

Of course, I would love to go back to Burma. That’s why I came to India, since it is Burma’s neighbouring country. With Kyi’s release, I believe that there will be a change in Burma now. Even those who did not vote for her, will support her,” she said.

The Burmese community was hopeful of the restoration of democracy.

People will start thinking about democracy actively and fiercely. It is time to meet new challenges and new opportunities. It is a time to celebrate and support our pro-democracy leader, said an ecstatic Tint Swe, Burmese parliamentarian, in exile since the last 20 years.

He added that even if the exiled Burmese could not witness her release, the community was excited.

As a politician, I keep a tab of what is going on in Burma, and the leaders there know about what we are doing here in India, he said.

“We want to feel the fresh air of democracy,” one Burmese student supporter said.

The New Delhi-educated Suu Kyi’s detention expired Saturday, with the military junta authorising her release. Suu Kyi is the daughter of Myanmar’s independence hero, General Aung San.

Xinhua reported that Suu Kyi, leader of the dissolved National League for Democracy (NLD), was freed after 18 months of confinement at her residence in Yangon.

Barricades placed in front of her lakeside residence had been removed, it said. Hundreds of people along with journalists had been gathering in anticipation of her release since Friday.

The international community has been calling for her release either before or after the country’s first election in 20 years, held Nov 7. The opposition leader has been detained for 15 of the past 21 years.

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