Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Suu Kyi meets son in countryside

Aung San Suu Kyi pays respect to a Buddhist monk during her visit to a pagoda along with her youngest son Kim Aris in Bagan (AP)
Aung San Suu Kyi walks along with members of the National League for Democracy Party during her visit to a pagoda in Bagan (AP)
Aung San Suu Kyi talks to reporters during her visit to a pagoda along with her youngest son Kim Aris, standing behind her, in Bagan (AP)

Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has visited an ancient city of temples and met with her youngest son during her first trip into the countryside since her release from house arrest in Yangon in November.

The 66-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate planned to spend four days on a private trip to Bagan, also known as Pagan, where her son Kim Aris is also visiting from Britain.

She last went there in 1989 for a political appearance that drew thousands of residents.

Ms Suu Kyi plans further trips to meet supporters outside Yangon, the country's largest city, although the state-controlled media warned her last week against political trips, saying they could cause chaos and riots.

Her last political trip to the countryside in 2003 drew huge crowds but also the wrath of the then-ruling military junta, whose supporters ambushed her entourage. She was eventually detained and placed under house arrest.

Ms Suu Kyi arrived in Bagan by plane on Monday and was met at the airport by her son, her pet dog and a host of plain-clothes security police and reporters.

Ms Suu Kyi's security aides said she will relax and unwind in Bagan. "One of her pastimes in Bagan will be drawing. One of her close aides has bought canvas and painting paraphernalia," said one.

Ms Suu Kyi often faced problems in the past when she travelled outside Yangon, with the government stopping her motorcades.

A trip to Mandalay by train in 1996 was aborted when authorities said her carriage had mechanical problems. During her second attempt to travel there by train in 2001, the government stopped her at the station and placed her under house arrest for 18 months.

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