On This Day

Suu Kyi Forced to Mark Another Birthday as Myanmar Junta Prisoner

By The Irrawaddy 19 June 2021

On this day last year, State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was celebrating her birthday, cutting cakes presented by her colleagues and supporters. But today the ousted civilian leader has to spend her 76th birthday under military detention.

In 1990, the democratic icon marked her 45th birthday under military detention after the junta refused to recognize the results of the 1990 general election which brought a landslide victory for her National League for Democracy (NLD).

She spent 14 more birthdays in isolation under the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) and State Peace and Development Council until her release from house arrest in 2010.

The NLD leader remained hugely popular with the people through her years in detention and her birthday was celebrated across the country until 2020.

It was expected that her 76th birthday would be celebrated on a grand scale after her party’s electoral victory in 2020.

But Myanmar’s military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing seized power from the civilian government in a coup on Feb. 1, claiming the results of the 2020 general election were marred by fraud and detaining Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

She was born in Yangon (then Rangoon) on June 19, 1945, to independence hero General Aung San, who founded the nation’s armed forces, and Daw Khin Kyi, who would become the country’s first female ambassador. Her father was assassinated when she was two.

She studied in India and England and married Oxford academic Michael Aris. The couple raised two sons. During the pro-democracy uprising in 1988, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi returned to her homeland to tend for her ailing mother and was drawn into the pro-democracy movement.

The SLORC put her under house arrest for the first time in 1989. She has been under military detention since February and faces seven charges filed by the regime.

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