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Junta tightens security near Suu Kyi home

Myanmar's military rulers tighten security around Aung San Suu Kyi's house, the day her latest year-long house arrest will expire.

world Updated: May 27, 2008 12:16 IST
Aung Hla Tun

Myanmar's military rulers tightened security around the home of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday, the day her latest year-long stretch of house arrest is due to expire.

Few expect the military to do anything but roll over the 62-year-old Nobel laureate's detention order, even though such a move is bound to create tensions with Western nations who have promised millions of dollars in cyclone aid.

Donors pledged nearly $50 million in aid at a landmark conference on Sunday in the wake of Cyclone Nargis which has left 134,000 people dead or missing and another 2.4 million clinging to survival.

A Reuters reporter saw at least six police trucks, a prison van and a fire engine parked near the headquarters of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party, which is due to hold a ceremony at 2 pm (0730 GMT).

Amid rumours of a planned NLD march to Suu Kyi's house, police moved a wooden and barbed-wired barricade across the road up to the nearest major intersection, making it impossible even to approach the lakeside villa.

Suu Kyi has spent more than 12 of the last 18 years in prison or under house arrest. Her party won more than 80 per cent of seats in a 1990 election, but was denied power by the military, which has ruled since a 1962 coup.

Her latest stretch of detention started "for her own protection" after clashes between her supporters and pro-junta thugs near the northern town of Depayin on May 30, 2003.

However, her formal house arrest under a state security law did not start until Nov. 27 of that year. It was renewed once for six months, and has since been renewed every year on or around May 27.