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Junta accuses Suu Kyi's party of inciting riots

Latest update : 2008-05-29

Burma's military regime accused imprisoned opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party, the NLD, of trying to incite riots in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. The NLD has accused the junta of restricting the flow of foreign aid for the victims.

Myanmar's junta-run newspaper on Thursday accused opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party of trying to incite riots in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis.
   
An editorial in the New Light of Myanmar paper said the NLD had used donations for storm victims to spark unrest in a camp housing survivors.
   
"NLD is trying to exploit the situation politically, instead of cooperating with the people," it said.
   
"NLD is attempting to incite the outrage of the victims and problems, and to make the public outrage go into riots. I would say that evidence showed the selfishness and coarse manners of NLD."
   
The junta's criticism of its opponents comes after it extended Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest by one year on Tuesday -- though that news was not reported in state media.
   
The paper said NLD staff had given money to some cyclone survivors at a temporary relief camp, but stopped handing out donations after clashing with officials, angering those left empty-handed.
   
"Some of the victims who had not got a one-thousand kyat note left the camp to show their dissatisfaction," it said.
   
"Indeed, it is NLD that incited the outrage of the victims under the pretext of donation," it said, urging donors to be "vigilant against the real purposes of so-called donors trying to attain political gains."
   
Aung San Suu Kyi led the NLD to an election landslide in 1990, but the junta never allowed the party to take office, and instead kept the Nobel Peace Prize winner locked away under house arrest.
   
Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 12 of the last 18 years in detention, and the extension of her house arrest provoked an international outcry.
   
The NLD has been critical of Myanmar's response to the May 2/3 cyclone, accusing the regime a week after the storm hit of endangering lives by restricting the flow of foreign aid to the worst-hit southwest delta region.
   
Witnesses returning from the cyclone-hit areas have also reported that police are trying to clear the roads of thousands of cyclone survivors whose desperation has reduced them to begging for food from passing cars.
   
Only 40 percent of the 2.4 million cyclone victims have received any official aid, according to the United Nations, forcing many to try to survive on handouts from volunteers.
   
The New Light of Myanmar editorial accused some of the desperate cyclone victims waiting at roadsides for donations of being opportunists.
   
"Maybe some of them were storm-victims," the editorial said. "Whereas some were opportunists. No one can know exactly where those waiting for vehicles along the roads are from and who they are."
   
Victims or not, the junta went on to say such begging "can tarnish the image of the country and the people, and downgrade the status of the victims."
   
It said donors should not drop food from cars, but instead "show their respect in presenting their donations, while the victims should accept the donations in all modesty."

Date created : 2008-05-29

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