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6/20/03 - RELEASE AUNG SAN SUU KYI - 2003-06-23

In a step that is unprecedented in its thirty-year history, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, called on Burma's military rulers to free democracy movement leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested after gangs of pro-regime hoodlums ambushed her motorcade and then attacked National League for Democracy supporters with clubs, with spears, and with guns. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said that "the attackers were brutal and organized; the victims were peaceful and defenseless."

Reports from the scene indicate that over one-hundred people were killed and many others were injured in the ambush. Secretary of State Powell said that it was clear that "members of the junta were responsible for directing and producing this staged riot."

Aung San Suu Kyi, the members of her political party, and others who have been detained for peacefully expressing their political views should be released immediately. The military junta should begin working with the opposition to restore democracy in Burma.

As Secretary of State Powell said, "the junta that oppresses democracy inside Burma must find that its actions will not be allowed to stand."