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Burmese students play hide-and-seek

Subject: Burmese students play hide-and-seek protest game

	Burmese students play hide-and-seek protest game
 	(Recasts, updates with new details, quotes)
    	By Vithoon Amorn
    	RANGOON, Dec 10 (Reuter) - Groups of students played
	hide-and-seek with Burmese authorities on Tuesday in scaled-down
	protests as security was tightened in the tense capital and
	universities remained sealed.
	In contrast to last week's large, noisy demonstrations, the
	students staged small, brief protests and scampered away before
	police moved in, witnesses and diplomats said.
    	Between 100 and 200 high school students gathered briefly on
	the streets in a residential district, while more than 100
	medical school students gathered at the main gate of their
	campus in a central district.
	The medical students chanted slogans against the authorities
	under the eye of anti-riot police, but they did not leave the
	campus grounds. The students vowed to repeat the protest on
	The latest demonstrations contrasted sharply with marches
	last week from the troubled Yangon Institute of Technology and
	the Yangon University in northern Rangoon.
	"The government is in a dilemma as the students are
	determined to carry out wildcat protests. The authorities tried
	to exercise restraint but they could not afford to let the
	situation deteriorate," a Rangoon-based diplomat said.
    	Witnesses said police had set up more roadblocks at some
	river bridges linking central and eastern Rangoon to check the
	identity papers of commuters.
	Burma's tightly controlled state media has not reported the
	student protests over the past week.
    	All classes in the two campuses were cancelled on Monday
	after hundreds of boarding students left for home indefinitely,
	fearing more unrest and that the government would close the
    	The university has over 40,000 students at its three
	separate campuses in the capital. The institute has nearly 5,000
	Students from both colleges last week led the biggest street
	demonstrations seen in Rangoon since 1988 pro-democracy
	uprisings that were crushed by the military, leaving thousands
	dead or in jail.
    	The street protests were sparked by charges of unfair police
	treatment of students arrested after a brawl with restaurant
	owners in October.
	Students also want the authorities to let them form student
	unions on campus and are opposing moves to close the colleges
	because of the latest unrest.
    	The ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC)
	has sealed off access to the university and the institute and
	tightened security in the capital to contain potential protests.
	A diplomat said last week's demonstrations did not carry the
	same political implications as those in 1988 when opposition
	leader Aung San Suu Kyi was more involved.
    	"We still have not seen signs that the demonstrations this
	week have any hidden political objectives," the diplomat said.
    	Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) on
	Monday denied an accusation by a government spokesman that some
	NLD members, underground communist activists and student exiles
	had instigated the recent protests.
    	The SLORC said it had asked Suu Kyi to restrict her
	movements because of fears for her safety. But she has protested
	against the request.
1301 101296 GMT