Burma quiet under watchful tanks
December 14, 1996
Web posted at: 1:45 p.m. EST (1845 GMT)
RANGOON, Burma (CNN) -- Burma's capital streets were quiet
Saturday as army tanks sat in front of city hall in a visible
deterrent to a possible repeat of recent large-scale student
After issuing warnings against further protests, the military
government reopened most roads near Yangon University and the
Yangon Institute of Technology. They had been closed after
thousands of students from the two universities staged
anti-government demonstrations earlier this week.
Only sections of University Avenue, where the pro-democracy
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi lives, and roads near the
Institute of Medicine in central Rangoon remained closed.
Medical trainees at the institute were the last group of
students to stage peaceful rallies.
Students rallied for greater political freedom and the right
to form a student union. The military used water cannon
to disperse some of the protesters, hundreds of whom were
arrested. There were conflicting reports about whether all
have been since released.
The apparent inability of the student groups to maintain the
protests may also stem from a split in their ranks. Some want
only more rights for students, while others are interested in
democracy for Burma.
Most of the students say their efforts have nothing to do
with the continuing struggle led by Suu Kyi to get the
military government to accept the opposition victory in the
Suu Kyi has complied with a government request not to leave
her home during the recent demonstrations. She denied
government claims she is controlling the students, but has
called for international pressure to force the military to
grant the students their demands and to free members of her
party detained for weeks without being charged.
The United States said its diplomats in Rangoon are being
prevented from visiting Suu Kyi, a move they described as
deeply disturbing. Burma warned the United States to stay out
of its internal affairs.
Correspondent David Clinch andReuters contributed to this report.
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