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Protests in Japan as Myanmar's Suu Kyi charged

world Updated: May 14, 2009 17:10 IST

AFP
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Dozens of Myanmar protesters rallied on Thursday in Japan after the Southeast Asian country's military junta charged pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi with breaching the terms of her house arrest.

"Free Suu Kyi!" chanted more than 60 expatriates from Myanmar in front of the country's embassy in Tokyo, holding banners that read: "The military junta should stop oppression with its unfair trial!"

Myanmar's regime Thursday charged pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi with breaching the terms of her house arrest and moved her to a house at a prison after a US man swam across a lake and hid inside her home, her lawyer said.

Expatriates are also lobbying Japanese lawmakers to issue a statement calling for the release of all political prisoners in the former Burma, said Min Nyo, who heads an activist exile group. "We are also seeking truly democratic elections at home, joined by all political parties, after reconciliation among all the people," he said.

Japan, the top donor to Myanmar among the OECD's major economies, in 2003 suspended most assistance other than emergency aid and some training funds to Myanmar.

It further cut its aid after the regime cracked down on pro-democracy demonstrations in 2007. But Japan refuses to join its Western allies in slapping punishing sanctions on Myanmar. China, which often spars with Japan for influence, is Myanmar's main political and commercial partner.

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