Australian government declares support for Burmese protests

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Myanmar protesters on September 24, 2007
Image: racoles.

The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, has announced that the Australian government is following events in Myanmar (formerly Burma) closely, and urged the Myanmar government to show restraint. He also called for the respect of "the legitimate right of Burmese citizens to peaceful protest."

The Minister also called for the release of political prisoners. "The continued detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and over one thousand political prisoners is unacceptable. I repeat calls for the Burmese regime to release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners immediately and unconditionally," he said in a media release.

Greens Senator Bob Brown criticised the Australian government, accusing them of hypocrisy over the issue of Myanmar. "Alexander Downer's fear that the military will subject the pro-democracy protest leaders to 'very harsh treatment' is in absurd contrast with the Howard government’s twin policies of training the Burmese military and keeping open unrestricted trade," he said in a media release.