Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has had her house arrest extended by another six months.

A government official delivered the extended detention order to her home in person. Ms Aung San has spent more than 12 of the past 18 years under some form of arrest.

Her latest spell in detention started on 30 May 2003 'for her own protection" after clashes between her supporters and pro-junta crowds in the northern town of Depayin.

15 of Ms Aung San's supporters were detained this morning as her party held a ceremony to mark the anniversary of its victory in 1990 elections.

The government has also pressed ahead with its own 'roadmap to democracy', which led this month to a referendum on a constitution that democracy activists say enshrines the army's grip on power.

The vote on 10 May and 24 May went ahead despite the devastating cyclone which left more than 133,000 people dead or missing. The ruling junta declared an overwhelming victory yesterday.

At the same time, Burma, also known as Myanmar, is slowly easing restrictions on foreign relief workers' access to survivors of cyclone Nargis.

Relief agencies say the coming days will be crucial in weighing up whether Burma will meet a promise that aid workers would be given free access to remote areas devastated by the cyclone.

'We have to be careful and not jump the gun, but things are starting to look hopeful. We're sort of at that critical moment,' said John Sparrow, spokesman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met last week with junta leader Than Shwe and said he had assurances that international workers would be allowed in.

More than half of the 2.4 million people in desperate need of food, shelter and medicine have yet to receive any international aid.