Crowds Push Past The Barricades As Aung San Suu Kyi Is Freed


As dusk gathered, the order came by mobile phone to take down the barricades. The roadblock that for years had blocked University Avenue, cutting Aung San Suu Kyi off from her people, was no more. As the police attempted to pull down the barbed wire, the crowd overwhelmed them; seven years of anger and generations of frustration forgotten in one joyous moment. The police, long feared as the front line of Burma's brutal security apparatus, tried to order the crowd back, but were helpless to do so.

In longyis and sandals, Aung San Suu Kyi's supporters ran the 400 yards to the front gate of her home. One woman, a portrait of ""The Lady"" pinned to her shirt, wept as she ran, calling out her name. They pushed against the ancient, sagging bamboo fence, singing and chanting, ""long live Aung San Suu Kyi"".

Despite years of house arrest, and the long hours yesterday waiting for the release order to finally come, inside her lakeside compound her inner circle were not prepared. They begged the crowd to sit and to be patient while they found something for their leader to stand on.

After 10 minutes, she appeared, in a lavender top, only her face and shoulders visible above the fence. The crowd roared. Here was the excitement, the enthusiasm of the Burmese people, so palpably missing from last week's election, embodied in a smiling 65-year-old woman, standing on a chair at her front gate, with flowers in her hair.