Leaders and family welcome freedom
The release of Aung San Suu Kyi was welcomed by world leaders and her family members alike yesterday. US President Barack Obama paid tribute, referring to her as "a hero of mine and a source of inspiration for all who work to advance basic human rights in Burma and around the world".
"While the Burmese regime has gone to extraordinary lengths to isolate and silence Aung San Suu Kyi, she has continued her brave fight for democracy, peace, and change in Burma," he said.
President Mary McAleese yesterday warmly welcomed the release of the Burmese opposition leader. "She has been a beacon of hope for the Burmese people and her release is a wonderful boost to all those who never gave up on the peaceful struggle for democracy," said President McAleese.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Aung San Suu Kyi is an inspiration for all of us who believe in freedom of speech, democracy and human rights. Her detention was a travesty."
Though she now has her freedom, it is likely be some time before Ms Suu Kyi -- whose late husband, the British scholar Michael Aris, died in 1999 at the age of 53 -- sees her two sons.
The youngest, Kim, 33, who still lives in the UK and has not seen his mother in 10 years, has been awaiting her release in Bangkok, Thailand.
He has yet to be granted a Burmese visa which will mean it may be some time before he is reunited with his mother.
Her eldest son is understood to live in the US.
Speaking from Warminster in Wiltshire, her brother-in-law Adrian Phillips, 68, said today remained a "happy day".
He added: "We are obviously very pleased if it means we can contact her again after so many years of silence. The last time I spoke to her was when her husband died in 1999."