Friday, November 09, 2007

Women rulers disliked in Asia?

Detained Myanmar opposition head Aung San Suu Kyi is under house arrest for years and is told to be "very optimistic" about prospects of the U.N.-promoted process for reconciliation between the military government and pro-democracy forces, top members of her party said Friday.

But not far from Burma, in Pakistan, security officials barricaded former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto inside her home behind barbed wire, concrete blocks and armored cars on Friday morning, and turned out in force in downtown Rawalpindi to quash a planned rally, dispersing protesters as they tried to assemble.

With conflict between Bhutto and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf at a new height, police early Friday began surrounding Bhutto's home, under orders to prevent her from leaving to lead the Rawalpindi demonstration. A security official said the steps were for her protection.

The Rawalpindi protest, called to oppose the national state of emergency declared by Musharraf over the weekend, failed to materialize under a heavy police presence in the city and security barricades established on the roads leading into it. There were scattered clashes through the day between police and would-be protesters.

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