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Burmese Government arrests students
Subject: Burmese Government arrests students.
Burmese Govt Arrests Students
RANGOON, Burma (AP) -- After a week of student
protests, the government opened a
main road in northern Rangoon Thursday, but
kept schools and universities closed to
discourage further demonstrations.
Pyay Road, a main thoroughfare used by
commuters, was opened along with intersections
where students demonstrated just days earlier
in the most serious show of civil dissent since
the nationwide democracy uprising of 1988,
which also was sparked by student protests.
One student told the Associated Press that 82
students were arrested after protests and
were being held in the Insein prison, and that
others who had gone to their rural homes were
being interrogated by police and the military.
The government did not confirm the report.
He added that students had staged several
on-campus demonstrations that reporters
couldn't see because of the road closures.
Heavily armed troops kept universities closed
Thursday, and sealed off streets leading to the
business district and to the home of democracy
leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The Nobel Peace
Prize winner was confined to her home by the
military last week.
U.S. embassy officials tried to visit Suu Kyi
Thursday, but were turned back twice at
roadblocks, said Kent Wiedemann, embassy charge
Burma believes the embassy is trying to provoke
an incident that will increase pressure in the
United States for economic sanctions against
Burma, also known as Myanmar. Embassy
officials denied the charge.
A bill that would give President Clinton the
right to invoke sanctions if Suu Kyi is harmed,
harassed or rearrested has already passed
Congress and awaits the president's signature.
Stepping up pressure on Burma's military
government, the U.S. ambassador to the United
Nations, Madeleine Albright, urged the regime
Thursday to respect human rights and let
U.N. inspectors monitor civil liberties there.
``The more time elapses before these steps are
taken, the more the pressure will build, the
more divided Burma will become, and the more
difficult it will be for Burma to achieve a
peaceful transition to democratic rule,''
Albright told the U.N. General Assembly.
Tin Oo, a senior Burmese general, had
threatened in comments published Thursday to
``annihilate'' anyone who disrupts the military
The threat followed six days of student
protests in Rangoon and the northern city of
Mandalay to demand freedom, human rights, an
end to police brutality and the right to form
a student union.
Five tanks were parked Thursday across the
street from the 1,000-year-old Sule Pagoda,
the site of the 1988 nationwide democracy
uprising, in the first show of heavy artillery since
the unrest began last week.
Word had spread around Rangoon, and on the
Internet, that a demonstration would take
place at the Sule on Thursday.
Col. Hla Min, a military intelligence official,
said the tanks wouldn't ``be firing shells into
A government spokesman said 200 to 300 students
staged a demonstration Wednesday by
the moat ringing the old royal palace in
Burma's generals justify their rule by saying
they are preventing the United States and Britain
from taking over. Both governments have denied
[By PATRICK MCDOWELL, Associated Press Writer, 13 December 1996].