IN UNITY FOR HER LIBERTY

Philippine women activists, youth join regional demand for Aung San Suu Kyi's release; hold candlelight vigil in EDSA

The historic EDSA where two people power revolts witnessed the ouster of presidents Marcos and Estrada today became a stage for Philippine women and youth activists who joined the regionally coordinated action demanding for the immediate and unconditional release of Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

About 50 protesters under the Free Burma Coalition-Philippin es held a candlelight vigil which is part of the solidarity action among peoples of southeast Asia dubbed as "In Unity for Her liberty" with simultaneous activities in Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Philippine women activists, youth join regional demand for Aung San Suu Kyi's release; hold candlelight vigil in EDSA

The historic EDSA where two people power revolts witnessed the ouster of presidents Marcos and Estrada today became a stage for Philippine women and youth activists who joined the regionally coordinated action demanding for the immediate and unconditional release of Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

About 50 protesters under the Free Burma Coalition-Philippin es held a candlelight vigil which is part of the solidarity action among peoples of southeast Asia dubbed as "In Unity for Her liberty" with simultaneous activities in Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Donning fresh yellow flowers on their hair and holding photos of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi with printed slogan “RELEASE Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Now!”, protesters denounced the military government of Burma and immeditely called on ASEAN and the UN to work for the release of Burma's democracry leader.

The group even likened Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate to Ninoy Aquino. Ninoy Aquino and Aung San Suu Kyi according to them 'share similar qualities' as both of them are freedom fighters. Reviving the popular slogan during Ninoy's detention under Martial Law, there were even placards that read: “AUNG SAN SUU KYI, HINDI KA NAG-IISA”

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is currently being tried on charges that she violated the terms of her current six-year house arrest after an American man swam across a lake in central Rangoon and spent a night at the waterfront villa where Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest. If found guilty she will spend another 5 years in detention.

“We see that EDSA is the right place for extending solidarity with the peoples of Burma who have been suffering for more than four decades now under their dictatorial government. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the rest of 2,100 political prisoners in Burma must be released immeditiately if the Burmese junta is indeed sincere in achieving genuine national unity,” said Yuen Abana, campaign coordinator of Partido ng Manggagawa- Women, also a member of FBC-Phils.

Abana continued, “As we hold vigil here, there are also other women and men across southeast Asia doing similar action. We see that this issue is not just an issue of Burma as the military regime wanted us to believe. This is everybody's issue and we feel that it is our duty to act.”

Reacting to Burmese junta's claim that Aung San Suu Kyi's trial is an internal matter to Burma, Abana quickly replied, “It's an old, flimsy alibi only a dictator like General Tan Shwe can accept. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is not guilty of any crime just like the rest of political prisoners in Burma. The timing of her arrest and detention is suspicious especially since the junta is now too busy preparing for the 2010 elections to legitimize itself in power.

Participating organizations: The Free Burma Coalition – Philippines (FBC-Phils), Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC) Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), AKBAYAN Citizen's Action Party – Women Youth, Bagong Kamalayan Collective (New Awareness – women survivors of sexual violence), Movement for the Advancement of Student Power (MASP), and Partido ng Manggagawa – Women (Workers' Party – women's wing)

For more details please contact: Egoy at +63920 9132472 or Gani at +63929 4109647 or call IID Office at +632 4352900 or +632 9110205

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