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Aung San Suu Kyi vows to press

Subject: Aung San Suu Kyi vows to press            on with democracy struggle

Aung San Suu Kyi vows to press
           on with democracy struggle

           (ADDS comment by Aung San Suu Kyi)

           RANGOON, April 14 (AFP) - Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi
           vowed Monday to press on with the struggle for democracy and urged
           supporters to summon the "courage and strength" to achieve their

           "As we enter the new year we need to rejuvenate ourselves,
reaffirm our
           convictions and pledge to continue to struggle on until we reach
our desired
           goal," she said at a celebration at her home for the Burmese new

           Aung San Suu Kyi said it had been eight years since the struggle
for democracy
           in Burma had begun and that large numbers of people taking part
in that fight
           were now languishing in the country's prisons.

           "We cannot and will never forget our friends who have suffered
for the cause ...
           and we especially remember them at this new year," she told assembled
           supporters, diplomats and reporters at her lakeside compound.

           The opposition leader has said hundreds of supporters and members
of her
           National League for Democracy (NLD) were in prison, where they
           inadequate medical treatment and are denied basic rights.

           Aung San Suu Kyi said Monday's gathering was aimed at honoring
           prisoners in Burma, most of whom are members of the NLD, as well
as raising
           money for their welfare.

           She also said she hoped the people of Burma would continue to
support the
           NLD, whose activities have been sharply curtailed following a
crackdown by
           the military authorities last September.

           "To do this it is necessary to nurture the courage and strength
needed to see us
           through to the end," she said.

           The NLD won an overwhelming majority of seats in the 1990 general
           the results of which were ignored by the military authorities,
who launched a
           crackdown against the pro-democracy movement.

           After years of near dormancy, the NLD began stepping up
activities following
           Aung San Suu Kyi's release from six years of house arrest in
1995, but has
           found itself under increasing pressure from the ruling junta.

           Roadblocks which have been outside Aung San Suu Kyi's home since
           December following a wave of student unrest, were extended Monday as
           security forces monitored people trying to attend the celebrations.

           NLD sources said some 2,000 invitations for nine hours of
festivities had been
           sent out to members and supporters of the party, although it was
not clear how
           many would be able to make it past the security checkpoints.

           Police at the roadblock were registering invited guests as they
tried to make
           their way to Aung San Suu Kyi's home in suburban University
Avenue, but it
           was not clear if any were being turned away.

           Substantial donations were being made by those who had already
arrived at,
           one NLD source said inside the compound.

           Security has been tight across Rangoon, where revellers were
celebrating a
           water festival to usher in the new year, which came in the wake
of communal
           unrest and a bomb attack on the home of a leading general in the
ruling junta.

           Uniformed police kept up a visible presence around the few
           government-sanctioned pandals, or platforms from which people
throw water
           on passers-by as part of the festivities, which were allowed to
be erected.

           Meanwhile, armed riot police stood guard at the home ministry,
which was
           rumored to be the target of a recent bomb scare following an
explosion a week
           ago that killed the daughter of a leading general.