Chanting the slogan, “Aung San Suu Kyi, Not Guilty!” the rallyists from the trade union, urban poor, youth/student, human rights workers and informal workers’ sectors brought with them floral arrangements bearing the words “NOT GUILTY” and a birthday cake with two candles formed in number 64. The activity is held as part of the simultaneous global actions celebrating Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s 64th birthday.
“We know that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is Not guilty of any of the charges trumped up by the military junta to silence her and Burma’s cry for genuine freedoms and democracy,” said an old lady holding a photo of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. “She must be freed together with other political prisoners,” she continued in local language.
The demonstrators lighted the cake candles and serenaded Daw Aung San Suu Kyi with songs of freedom for her birthday. The demonstrators dispersed peacefully after the one hour program. About 20 local and foreign media agencies covered the activity.
FBC-Philippines thanks all the organizations and individuals who participated in the solidarity action – Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC), Alliance of Prograssive Labor (APL), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP-Solidarity of Philippine Workers), Partido ng Manngagawa (PM-Labor Party Philippines), Task Force Detainees Philippines (TFDP), Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Tagalungsod (KPML-Urban Poor Assembly), Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), SANLAKAS, Teatro Pabrika (Wokers’ Theatre), independent young bloggers.
Joining the international celebration of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's 64th birthday, more than a hundred solidarity activists under the Free Burma Coalition-Philippines and Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC) today held a rally in front of the Burma embassy in Makati City and further denounced the recent detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi by Burma's military regime.
In Rangoon, National League for Democracy (NLD) members were making preparations at party headquarters for a similar celebration to those in previous years, including giving breakfast to Buddhist monks.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has already spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest, and is currently undergoing a trial for allegedly breaching her term of house arrest after an American war veteran swam to her house and refused to leave. If found guilty, her jail terms would be extended to another five years.
Protesters brought a huge cake and red roses shaped in a slogan N-O-T G-U-I-L-T-Y symbolizing the groups’ opposition to the current trial of the world's only imprisoned Nobel laureate.
Egoy Bans, FBC-Phils spokesperson said, “Calling for Aung San Suu Kyi's immediate and unconditional release would be the best gift that we could offer on her birthday. Her current trial is an outright insult to justice and a counter-productive move that will not contribute any significant political progress in Burma.”
The FBC-Phils spokesperson quickly added, “How could we trust a trial where the junta is acting as witness, prosecutor, and judge all at the same time? The junta has a world of its own and would like to rule Burma using just the edicts of the barbaric era.”
“Teatro Pabrika” a cultural group of trade union activists also staged a “harana” (serenade) for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi singing songs of freedom.
“Aung San Suu Kyi is still widely recognized as the crucial and unifying factor to realize genuine democracy and fair governance in Burma. There is no way Burma can achieve genuine national unity if the junta generals continue to persecute those who oppose them," Bans explained.
Moreover, FBC-Phils called on the ASEAN and United Nations to immediately craft concrete steps to help the other 2,100 political prisoners languishing in Burmese jails today.
A global petition was delivered on Monday by Free Burma’s Political Prisoners Now campaigners to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, signed by more than 670,000 people from 220 countries including the Philippines, calling for the release of all Burma’s political prisoners, especially Aung San Suu Kyi.
Bans stressed, “Aung San Suu Kyi and the rest of Burma’s political prisoners need more than “statements of support.” The ASEAN and UN should find an avenue where they could translate the world’s outrage to concrete political action for change to happen in Burma.”
Bans concluded, “Burma and its peoples need help. The Burmese regime is blinded with so much power making the junta generals incapable of seeing the actual suffering of their own people. Now, it is everybody's duty to act.”