There has been an ecstatic welcome for Aung San Suu Kyi in Thailand, on her first trip outside Myanmar in over two decades.
The pro-democracy leader was greeted by cheering crowds at a prawn market and a migrant centre south of Bangkok, in an area with a large Burmese population.
They are among some two and a half million migrants who are thought to have fled the impoverished country to work in manual and low-skilled jobs in Thailand.
Many send money back to their families at home.
For them, Suu Kyi is a sign of hope. Some waved photos of her and her father, a general who was assassinated.
“Aung San Suu Kyi has been under arrest for a long time,” said 27-year-old Burmese woman Yne Yne Thin. “She doesn’t know about the hardships faced by people, those faced by girls who’ve come to work in Thailand. So these girls – like daughters – are welcoming her.“when she comes to Thailand so she knows about us.”
Suu Kyi told the cheering crowd not to feel depressed or weak. “History is always changing,” she said. “I’ll make you one promise: I will try my best for you.”
The Nobel prize winner spent 15 years in detention in Myanmar, also known as Burma. Until now she has feared she would not be allowed to return if she left the country.
Her visit is seen as a sign of confidence in reforms underway at home after decades of military rule.
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