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Burma Closes Secondary Schools

 .c The Associated Press 


Associated Press Writer 

RANGOON, Burma (AP) -- Army troops were stationed at two universities, and
the military government closed secondary schools in the capital to try to
quash further protests after new demonstrations Tuesday at a medical school. 

Recent hit-and-run style student demonstrations at various colleges in
Rangoon and Mandalay are presenting the most serious challenge to the current
military government, which seized power in 1988 by crushing a pro-democracy

More than 50 students staged a sit in protest in front of Medical University
Number 1 Tuesday chanting slogans and demanding an end to police brutality,
the right to form a student union, more freedom and human rights. 

Riot police stationed a block away allowed the sit-in to continue, but
military intelligence officers blanketed the area and confiscated film from
news photographers. 

Students could be heard chanting slogans inside the dormitory late Monday
night, as a crowd of several hundred people gathered outside. Riot police
charged the onlookers and dispersed the crowd, but did not enter the

A heavy police presence around the capital and the universities has prevented
separate groups of protesters from linking up to form a large demonstration. 

``We are following standard international procedure,'' in dealing with the
demonstrators, said Col. Hla Min of military intelligence. ``Most of the kids
want to return to school and that's what the government wants also.'' 

Although not politically active for several years following the 1988
uprising, the students were motivated in October when police allegedly beat
students in a dispute with a restaurant owner. 

Students and police have clashed regularly since Saturday morning, when riot
police broke up an all-night protest outside the Shwedagon Pagoda, arresting
several hundred people. 

The government has accused Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi,
communists and exile students groups of inciting the latest demonstrations. 

Suu Kyi has been confined to her home since Monday. 

Hla Min said the measures were designed to prevent anyone from attacking her
again. Suu Kyi's motorcade was attacked by a mob on Nov. 9 that witnesses
said was organized by the government. 

The Nobel laureate has denied inciting the students, branding the accusation

Tuesday, she was permitted to meet with leaders of her political party at her

Seven members of her party were arrested over the weekend on suspicion of
taking part in the demonstrations, according to Human Rights Watch-Asia, an
international rights watchdog. 

Protests also have spread to the Institutes of Medicine and Technology in
Mandalay, Burma's second largest city, according to a statement from the
rights group. Those schools were closed by the government on Sunday, and
universities in Rangoon were shut on Monday. 

``The schools will reopen when the situation returns to normalcy,'' Hla Min

Army troops were stationed at two campuses of Rangoon University Tuesday, hot
spots of student protests, and all-male and coed secondary schools were

Barbed wire barricades blocked streets near the Ministry of Defense and the
capital's railway station. More were piled along the sides of main roads in
case the army decides to close them. 

AP-NY-12-10-96 0736EST