Freedom Next Week for Suu Kyi? Doubtful

Junta seems nervous even after rigging election
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2010 9:41 PM CDT
In this Nov. 4, 2009, file photo, detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi exits the Inya Lake Hotel after meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell in Yangon, Myanmar.   (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win, File)

(Newser) – Myanmar has begun voting in its first election in 20 years and—spoiler alert—the junta-backed party is going to win. The ruling regime has rigged the rules to make sure of that, writes Independent correspondent Peter Popham. The real question is whether the regime will release Aung San Suu Kyi as promised a week from now. Suu Kyi just may be the "most abused political heroine alive today," having spent 15 of the last 20 years in confinement, writes Popham.

Now you'd think the imminent election landslide would have leaders in a generous mood, but Popham describes mounting tension on the streets and describes the extraordinary lengths reporters must go through to interview the opposition. In fact, he was one of a slew of foreign reporters sent packing of late on flimsy charges. "If the modest reporting endeavours of a handful of foreigners are such a problem for the junta, how will it cope with the Lady when she gets behind a microphone again—the one person in the country capable, with a few well-chosen words, of galvanising not only millions of her own people but the leaders of the free world as well?" In terms of the promise to release her, it doesn't bode well.

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