Burmese Dissident Is Freed After Long Detention

YANGON — Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was freed from seven and a half years of house arrest on Saturday and was greeted at the gate of her compound by thousands of jubilant supporters.

She stood waving and smiling in a pink, long-sleeved shirt, as people cheered, chanted and sang the national anthem in a blur of camera flashes. She held a white handkerchief in one hand.

“Thank you for welcoming me like this,” she said, clutching the iron bars of her gate as she looked out at the cheering crowd. “We haven’t seen each other for so long, I have so much to tell you.”

She said she would speak again on Sunday at the headquarters of her now defunct political party, the National League for Democracy.

“We must unite!” she said. “If we are united, we can get what we want.”

She had spent 15 of the last 21 years under house arrest, and her release had been the leading demand of Western nations seeking to pressure the ruling junta on questions of human rights and political freedom.

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