[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index
Authorities shut down Burmese unive
Subject: Authorities shut down Burmese universities (The Asian Age, 10/12/96.)
Authorities shut down Burmese universities
The Asian Age, 10/12/96.
Rangoon, Dec. 9: Burma's military government shut down
classes at universities urn Monday following a weekend clash
between student protesters and riot police that marked the
largest demonstration of civil unrest since the democracy
uprising of 1988.
Following a protest march and sit-in by students on Friday
night, traffic police sealed off roads leading to the three
campuses of Rangoon University, while riot police set up
barbed wire barricades to blockade the Rangoon Institute of
Technology. Students who tried to approach their schools on
Monday morning were met at the barricades by university
professors who informed them of the closure.
The military government made no official announcement that
classes would be suspended. The government did not say when
schools would reopen. Most students left the area peacefully,
but some stayed on to watch from nearby tea shops. The
clampdown on campuses came on the heels of a violent melee
between riot police and students armed with sticks and stones
early Saturday morning.
The police were breaking up an all-night sit-in by students who
were demanding an end to police brutality, the right to form a
student union, greater freedom and respect for human rights.
Police arrested 264 students and took them to a Rangoon race
track. Authorities said all were released after their identities
were checked. But some students believe some protesters
The confrontation was the strongest show of civil dissent since
1988, when a tea shop brawl between Rangoon Institute of
Technology students and the son of a government official set
off a nation-wide uprising against decades of repressive military
Burma's military government crushed the generally non-violent
uprising with force, gunning down more than 3.000 protesters
and jailing thousands more. The government closed all
universities and high schools for three years after the unrest.
In an eerily-similar scenario, students have spilled into the
streets at least three times since November. They accuse the
police of beating some of them during a dispute between
Rangoon Institute of Technology students and a restaurant
The government said the offending officers have been dismissed
and given prison sentences.
But some students refuse to believe the government account
published in the state-run media, which does not include details
of the punishment. The key demand is for a student union,
which the government has refused to allow.
Students have frequently been at the forefront of social change
in Burma. When Gen. Ne Win seized power in a 1962 coup, his
troops blew up the student union building on Rangoon
University campus, killing several youngsters.
Ironically, a few of the students who witnessed the violence are
now high-ranking intelligence officers. The government has
tried to pin the recent protests on its main political opponent,
Nobel Peace prize winner Aung San Sun Kyi, accusing her of
inciting unrest. (AP)