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Burmese junta shuts schools to stud
Subject: Burmese junta shuts schools to students protests (The Asian Age, 11/12/96.)
Burmese junta shuts schools to crush student protests
The Asian Age, 11/12/96.
Rangoon, Dec. 10: One day after shutting down universities in
Rangoon, Burma's military government closed boys and co-ed
secondary schools in the capital on Tuesday to quash student
Students and riot police clashed over the weekend and on
Monday. Army troops were stationed at the Kyimyindine and
Botataung campuses of Rangoon University on Tuesday, two
hot spots of student protests since last week.
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.
The students are demanding an end to police brutality, the right
to form a students' union and more freedom and human rights.
Although not politically active for several years following the
nation-wide Democracy Uprising of 1988, the students were
aroused by an October incident in which the police allegedly
beat Rangoon Institute of Technology youths involved in a
dispute with a restaurant owner.
The government's failure to address the students' grievances has
sparked off street demonstrations that have mushroomed into
the largest show of civil dissent since 1988.
The 1988 uprising began after the government mishandled a tea
shop brawl between Rangoon Institute of Technology students
and the son of a government official. The military crushed the
largely non-violent uprising, killing more than 3,000 protesters,
jailing thousands more and shutting down universities for three
No students took to the streets on Tuesday morning, but a
statement by Human Rights Watch Asia, an international human
rights group, said that protests had spread to Mandalay.
Burma's second largest city.
Both the Institute of Medicine and the Institute of Technology
in Mandalay were shut down by the government on Sunday
following demonstrations there, the group said. The
government has accused Nobel peace prize winner Aung San
Sun Kyi, communists and exile students groups of inciting the
demonstrations. Ms Sun Kyi has been confined to her home
since Monday. She has denied the accusations, branding them
"ridiculous." On Tuesday, she was permitted to meet with
leaders of her political party at her home. Seven members of her
party were arrested over the weekend on suspicion of taking
part in the demonstrations, Human Rights Watch Asia said.
On Monday, riot police chased hundreds of student protesters
through the streets of Rangoon. Hundreds more from Dagon
University across the Rangoon river, attempting to reach the
site of the protests by buses, were turned back by troops. Late
at night, troops also chased people gathered at a downtown
Rangoon intersection near the medical school. Students could
be heard chanting their demands from inside a school
dormitory. Witnesses saw no arrests, but many said they had
fled before the troops and so were uncertain if anyone had been
taken into custody.
Attempts to reach government spokesmen have been
unsuccessful. Intelligence officers detained an Agence France
Press reporter who had been following the demonstrations and
interrogated him for four hours, seizing him film.
At least three free-lance journalists have been deported by the
authorities as they search for whoever has been filming the
student demonstrations for Cable News Network. (AFP)