YANGON, Myanmar - Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi shared rice and chocolate cake with her prison guards to celebrate her 64th birthday yesterday, as global condemnation of her trial galvanized rallies in capitals around the world.
European Union nations marked the Nobel Peace Prize laureate's birthday by warning they would step up sanctions against Myanmar's military government if she is not released.
Suu Kyi, who is being held in a "guest house" at Yangon's notorious Insein Prison, faces up to five years in jail on charges of violating the terms of her house arrest after an uninvited American man swam to her tightly guarded lakeside home and stayed two days.
Several miles from the prison, hundreds of supporters released 64 sparrows and 10 doves at the headquarters of her National League for Democracy party and sang "Happy Birthday."
Suu Kyi's attorney, Nyan Win, took cakes, orchids, and "birthday messages from her friends and the international community" to her at the prison along with 50 lunch boxes of rice to share with the prison staff.
"She really appreciates the efforts and said she was sorry she wasn't able to thank everyone individually," he said.
Suu Kyi has spent 14 birthdays in detention. Yesterday's birthday stirred an outpouring of support from Hollywood stars including Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, celebrities Madonna and David Beckham, and many Western governments.
Many posted online messages on social-networking sites and videos on YouTube in what human-rights groups called an unprecedented and enormously powerful tool to highlight her struggle.
Concerts, candlelight vigils, and other gatherings for Suu Kyi were scheduled in more than 20 cities worldwide.