While Iran’s leaders nervously monitor street protests, Burma’s military rulers are trying to ride out their own crisis. A worldwide protest continues to build over the jailing of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

A Burma birthday – in prison

She’s a political leader whose party won elections in 1990 that were ignored by the ruling generals. Since then, she’s spent 14 years in jail, including Friday, when she marked her 64th birthday in a Rangoon prison.

Her followers brought rice and chocolate cake to her jailers and released birds to symbolize a wish for her freedom. There were more hard-edged protests elsewhere: The European Union issued sanctions to ban visas and freeze assets of officials linked to Burma’s abusive government. In Washington, the Senate’s Women’s Caucus, which includes both California senators, denounced Suu Kyi’s mistreatment and demanded her release along with other political prisoners.

Timing is everything. The military rulers want to keep Suu Kyi locked up before next year’s promised elections. But this vote won’t have any meaning unless she’s freed and can take part.


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