Myanmar’s officially defunct opposition party the National League for Democracy (NLD) on Monday defied security laws to mark Martyrs’ Day, an anniversary of particular significance for its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
More than 300 former NLD members gathered at the house of the ex—vice chairman Tin Oo to commemorate the occasion, while the party’s youth wing laid a wreath at the Martyrs’ Mausoleum in Yangon.
Since its founding in 1989, the NLD has commemorated Martyrs’ Day, which marks the assassination of independence hero General Aung San and eight other leading politicians on July 19, 1947.
His daughter, Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, has led the NLD for the last 21 years, 15 of them under house arrest, and become a democracy icon in her country and beyond.
“Daw (Madame) Aung San Suu Kyi will never die and neither will the NLD,” Mr. Tin Oo said at the ceremony.
The gathering defied a ban on political gatherings imposed by Myanmar’s military regime, but no arrests were made.
The NLD was officially dissolved as a political entity on May 6, for failing to register for the general election planned for an unscheduled date later this year.
On March 29, the NLD executive committee voted not to contest the polls in protest at a regulation that would have forced it to expel secretary general Suu Kyi.
The junta passed a law earlier in March prohibiting registered parties from having prisoners serving sentences among its members. Ms. Suu Kyi is currently serving an 18—month house arrest sentence. Rather than expel her, the NLD decided not to register for the election, effectively signing its own dissolution.
The NLD won the last election in 1990 by a landslide, but was barred from power by the junta.
Ms. Suu Kyi is still widely recognized by the international community as the leader of Myanmar’s political opposition. The country has been under military rule since 1962. A new constitution passed in 2008 cemented military control over any elected future government.