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REUTER: Foreign Radio Stations Can
- Subject: REUTER: Foreign Radio Stations Can
- From: ktint@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 30 May 1996 00:02:00
Subject: REUTER: Foreign Radio Stations Can Make Burmese to Rally
FOREIGN RADIO STATIONS CAN MAKE BURMESE TO RALLY
By Deborah Charles
RANGOON, May 30 (Reuter) - Burma's military rulers on Thursday stepped
up denunciations of foreign interference in the country and continued
verbal and written attacks on the democracy movement led by Aung San Suu
The government ran slogans in newspapers and as scrolling headlines on
television, including "Oppose foreign nations interfering in internal
affairs of the state," "Crush all internal and external destructive
elements as the common enemy" and "Oppose those relying on external
elements, acting as stooges, holding negative views."
Two government-sponsored rallies on Wednesday with crowds estimated by
state-run media at 100,000 chanted slogans condemning pro-democracy
activists and what it called the influence of foreigners on them.
The rallies, which diplomats said were organised by the government
with the military forcing people to attend, have occurred all week since
democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi defied government intimidation and
numerous arrests to hold a meeting of leaders of her National League for
Democracy (NLD) on Sunday.
In an interview with Reuters on Wednesday, Suu Kyi dismissed the
rallies as farcical and said the people of Burma backed her democracy
movement and wanted an end to military dictatorship.
Dr Maung Htoo, Princiapl of Monywa Degree College and the main speaker
at a rally said to be attended by 70,000 in northwest Burma, accused
foreign radio stations of causing instability.
"Foreign radio stations are also applying the old methods of
instigation as they did during the 1988 disturbances," he said. "Centered
on self-interest, the group is pushing the nation into the fire again."
The military regime, the State Law and Order Restoration Council
(SLORC), assumed power in 1988 after crushing a pro-democracy uprising that
left thousands dead or in jail.
A commentary carried in all official newspapers renewed an attack on
the Voice of America and British Broadcasting Corporation, both of which
broadcast daily Burmese-language news programmes.
Western nations, which have criticised the SLORC and condemned recent
arrests of more than 261 NLD members, were interfering in Burma for
strategic reasons, the commentary said.
"Those neo-colonialists begrudge Myanmar its strategic position in
Asia and its rich natural resources and could not bear to see it so close
to and friendly and... cooperative with a big country of the East -- one
that will one day become so strong as to vie with them and keep them in
Burma has close relations with China, and buys a majority of its
military hardware from its northern neighbour.
"Today, we witness sinister designs of foreign nations interfering in
our internal affairs," said another editorial. "We have a message loud and
clear: Do not interfere."