Huge crowds gather for NLD rally

Tens of thousands of supporters of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi gathered in Yangon Sunday for her party's largest rally so far, a week before the country votes in landmark elections.

At the event,Ms Suu Kyi praised Yangon saying “every layer of our public, every class of our people and every ethnic group of Myanmar resides in this region, and so we believe that support given by Yangon Region represents the support of the whole of Myanmar. Yangon region’s patronage is very good for the election results. I believe we will go to the poll on 8November with full strength and the support of the people of Yangon Region.”

The rally took place next to the Tuwunna Myo Oo Pagoda with the area filled by people waving deep red NLD flags of various sizes. NLD rally songs filled the air accompaniedby cheering roars of NLD supporters while volunteers distributed water bottles and others shaded themselves from the harsh sun using a sea of umbrellas.

Dozens of NLD youth members lined up near the front of the stage to provide security but there was no visible police presence.

Speaking to the crowd, Daw Suu continued, “This election is a big chance to bring change in our country. It is a chance which occursrarely in history. It is the responsibility of every citizen to grab the chance firmly and use it properly. If we use this chance correctly, we will get the opportunity to finallyfound a real federal union.

It is crucial that all citizens get the chance to take part in building our country. Our citizens should be aware that it’s a system of dictatorship if a government excludes public participation and relies solely onitself to build up the country.

If we don’t trust our citizens, we can’t trust our democracy. The main reason the National League for Democracy had strivento obtain democracy for almost thirty years is that we trust in our citizens. Therefore we are not afraid of facing the election as we trust in the public, and we are not afraid of facing the elections with clean and a fair spirit. I say this bravely and boldly.”Anchor

She went on to warn the crowd, “Concerning government ministries, I’d like to caution staffplease be aware of threats. Advanced votes are not for everybody. Government staff should be aware that the heads of departments who urge you to give advanced votes are lying and breaking the law. The heads of departments who urged you to vote for one party and not to vote for another party also break the law. Please be aware of that.”

“We have tried to meet with all the people across the country. Though we tried to meet the public, we could not meet with all the 52 million people. Only when we form a government and can use state television, can we reach out to all 52 million people. So, please vote for NLD.” Daw Suu saidsmiling.

In recent weeks the Nobel laureate has crisscrossed Myanmar's varied landscape on an exhausting campaign trail, travelling from remote mountainous areas in the country's north to the southern delta regions, drawing large crowds along the way. 

However, the run-up to the polls has been marred by allegations of dirty tricks, complaints over the pre-poll preparations and concerns that significant minority groups are unrepresented and disenfranchised.

Additional reporting by AFP

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