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Yangon Universities Closed.

	Yangon universities closed after student protests 

     YANGON -- Classes were suspended at universities here and a large 
area of the city
     remained sealed off yesterday following student demonstrations last 

     Although there was no official announcement that universities had 
been closed, teachers
     at campuses and security checkpoint guards were turning students 
back and those
     staying in university hostels were being sent home. 

     Droves of students, particularly females, were being picked up from 
their lodgings by
     parents, witnesses said. 

     An area of several square kilometres around the site of a major 
protest on Saturday
     that was broken up by riot police was firmly blockaded, with 
soldiers and police
     manning barbed wire-lined barricades. 

     The protest, which had included up to 1,000 people at its peak, was 
the most serious
     student action in Myanmar since 1988. 

     The protesters' key demand is the formation of a union -- which has 
been forbidden in
     Myanmar since the military took power in 1962 -- in addition to 
seeking redress for
     the beatings of several students by police in October. 

     While there were some restrictions on access to other university 
campuses, only the
     main campus, adjacent to the traffic intersection where students 
staged demonstrations
     on two occasions last week, was sealed off totally. 

     Lessons at high schools within the cordoned-off area had also been 
suspended, but
     schools outside remained open. 

     Degree-convocation ceremonies here were postponed, as were planned 
     following Saturday's opening of the Diamond Jubilee Hall -- a new 
university building
     close to the main campus. 

     Morning traffic snarls jammed the city centre, with police directing 
the flow of vehicles
     around the periphery of the blockaded area. 

     From beyond the barricades, the situation appeared very quiet, with 
only residents
     allowed in or out. 

     A blockade remained in place on either side of the residence of 
opposition leader Aung
     San Suu Kyi. Access to her home has been restricted since the 
demonstrations began
     early last week. 

     Although the protesters have not mentioned her in their chants, the 
opposition leader
     has been confined to her quarters since Saturday. 

     She and the students have denied having any links with each other. 
But a government
     spokesman said yesterday that members of her National League for 
     (NLD), underground communist activists and student exiles were 
responsible for
     instigating the protests. 

     "We have evidence that not only some NLD members but also members of 
the All
     Burma Students' Democratic Front and underground elements of the Burma
     Communist Party are deeply involved in this unrest," he said. 

     The government had asked Ms Aung San Suu Kyi to stay away from areas 
     there was unrest for her own security, he said, because various 
underground elements
     were at work. 

     "We don't want her to go to places where there are crowds and unrest 
for her own
     security," he said. 

	[AFP, Reuter, 10 December 1996].