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The recent uprisings in the Middle East have been an “inspiration” to the people of military-dominated Burma, pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said.
“We in Burma envy Egypt’s quick and easy revolution,” the Nobel Peace Prize winner said in a BBC radio lecture due to be broadcast Tuesday.
“Why is the Arab Spring an inspiration to the Burmese? Because we have lived it ourselves,” the dissident added, according to a transcript published in The Times of London newspaper.
“The universal human aspiration to be free has been brought home to us by recent developments in the Middle East. The Burmese are as excited by these events are as people elsewhere,” she said.
Pro-democracy protests in 1988 and 2007 were brutally crushed by Burma’s military rulers.
Suu Kyi was freed in November after seven straight years of house arrest, less than a week after an election that critics said was a charade aimed at preserving military rule behind a civilian facade in Burma.
The democracy icon is preparing to launch her first political tour of the country since her release, although a schedule has not yet been announced.
Security is a top concern for the party as Suu Kyi’s convoy was attacked in 2003 in an ambush apparently organised by a regime frightened by her popularity.
The opposition leader, who turned 66 this month, has won international acclaim for her peaceful resistance in the face of oppression.
In 1990 she led her National League for Democracy party to a landslide election win that was never recognised by Burma’s military rulers. She boycotted last year’s vote, saying the rules were unfair.