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Sunday 18 August 2019

Geldof in protest at Suu Kyi's Dublin honour

Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. Photo: REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. Photo: REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

Rocker Bob Geldof plans to hand back his Freedom of the City of Dublin this morning in protest against Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Live Aid founder last night attacked the actions of the Burmese Nobel peace laureate, who has faced widespread criticism over her country's treatment of its Rohingya Muslim people.

In a statement he said: "Her association with our city shames us all and we should have no truck with it, even by default. We honoured her, now she appals and shames us."

Mr Geldof said he would hand back his award at Dublin's City Hall this morning. Ms Suu Kyi (inset) got her honour in 1999.

Dublin Lord Mayor Mícheál MacDonncha last night hit out at Mr Geldof's decision, saying: "To be honest I am surprised he even knows where City Hall is." He said he wouldn't accept it back from him.

"I think it's ironic that Mr Geldof is giving back this honour.

"This is a man who accepted the knighthood from the queen of England. He didn't return that honour during the Gulf War or any other wars Britain has been involved in, including in Ireland.

"Personally I would not have, at the time, been in favour of granting him the Freedom of the City."

The Lord Mayor also reiterated his condemnation on the stance of Aung San Suu Kyi on the plight of the Rohingya people.

More than 600,000 of the minority group have fled the northern Rakhine state into neighbouring Bangladesh since August, leading to a major humanitarian crisis.

It is not the first time Mr Geldof has spoken out against Ms Suu Kyi. Last month at a summit in Colombia he described her as "one of the great ethnic cleansers of our planet".

In his statement last night he added: "The moment she is stripped of her Dublin Freedom, perhaps the council would see fit to restore to me that which I take such pride in. If not, so be it."

Irish Independent

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