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Burmese students play hide-and-seek
- Subject: Burmese students play hide-and-seek
- From: nin@xxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 10 Dec 1996 06:47:00
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