Saturday, July 4, 2009

U2 Asks Fans To Support Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi

BANGKOK, Thailand – As U2 kicks off its world tour, the Irish rockers are turning a spotlight on Myanmar's jailed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

On its Web site and on stage, U2 is asking fans to wear a Suu Kyi mask in support of the 64-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner.

"Wear it to work or college. Wear it on the bus or the train. Wear it in the pub or at shops. And don't forget. Bring it to a U2 show," the band says on its official Web site.

A mask of Suu Kyi's smiling face can be downloaded and printed from and appears inside the program for the band's "360 degree" tour, which opened June 30 in Barcelona.

Lead singer Bono paid tribute to Suu Kyi at a packed Barcelona stadium Tuesday night when he introduced U2's 2000 single, "Walk On," which was written for her.

"This next song is dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma," Bono told the crowd, according to a statement received Friday from the Burma Campaign UK. The London-based human rights group helped coordinate a recent campaign that groups celebrities, musicians and dignitaries calling for Suu Kyi's release.

"Let's send her a message of love and support. Let us stand with her ... Put on your masks," Bono said, according to the statement, which said thousands in the audience were wearing or holding the masks.

Suu Kyi's opposition party, the National League for Democracy, won Myanmar's last elections in 1990, but the ruling generals refused to hand over power. She has been under house arrest for nearly 14 of the past 20 years.

In May, Suu Kyi was arrested on charges of violating her house arrest in a case that has been globally criticized as a pretext to keep her behind bars. She faces five years in prison if convicted.