May 22, 1997


Image of today's outrage

You may have thought that the days of mass arrests and gross political oppression were drawing towards a close as the world dances towards universal democracy. Think again.

In Burma’s last election, the National League for Democracy (NLD) won more than 80 percent of the popular vote. Pretty convincing mandate, you might say.

The ruling military government wasn’t happy, and they had an easy solution — they ignored the results.

When the NLD’s leaders tried to gather together for a party meeting, the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) — sounds so Orwellian — used none-too-subtle tactics. In the great tradition of Stalin and Mao, they arrested all the party leaders.

The SLORC said the arrests were necessary to maintain the “peace, tranquility, and stability of the nation.”

U.S. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said the arrests demonstrated the “perfidious and inhumane” nature of the SLORC regime.

(Source: Reuters.)

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