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RIT's studets stage demonstration

Subject: RIT's  studets stage demonstration in Rangoon

RANGOON, Oct 23 (Reuter) - About 500 Burmese university students on
Wednesday staged a rare demonstration against the military government and
its handling of a recent scuffle involving students at a food shop,
witnesses said. The three-hour demonstration ended peacefully after teachers
from the Yangon Institute of Technology (YIT) and education ministry
officials pursuaded the students to disperse.
The government said on Wednesday they had not arrested any of the students
involved in the protest.  The students said they were protesting against the
detention of three classmates who were involved in an argument at a food
stall on Sunday.  A similar quarrel at a tea shop in 1988 sparked nationwide
outrage against the military government, leading to pro-democracy street
demonstrations that left thousands dead or in jail.  The students involved
in the protest said government-run television and radio broadcasts on
Tuesday night on the arrest of the three students were inaccurate and said
the police had manhandled those who were detained.
The demonstrators demanded an apology from the police within 48 hours and
said they wanted the government to broadcast a correct chronology of the
events leading to the detention and the release of students. The ruling
State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) issued a statement calling
the demands impossible, and said the students were trying to instigate unrest.
"If we study the chronology of this incident, it can be found that a
restaurant quarrel was forged and diverted to become public unrest," said
the statement.
It accused the students of colluding with democracy leader Aung San Suu
Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party.  It said the students and
the politicians were trying to turn the quarrel into a bigger political issue.
"The students' unrest was mixed with politics on purpose to make the matter
worse," the statement said.
"Members of the security forces had to control the situation by taking a
preventative measure so as not to let peace be spoiled, and in order to
maintain community peace and tranquility and the rule of law," it said.
No one from the group of demonstrating students or the NLD was immediately
available for comment.
Witnesses said the SLORC again blocked access to Suu Kyi's University Avenue
home on Tuesday night by closing off roads leading to it. The roads had been
reopened on Monday after being sealed off for 10 days.
Suu Kyi's phone has been out of order since late September, when the
government thwarted NLD plans to hold a September 27-29 party congress at
her house.
At the time the government set up barricades manned by security police to
prevent the meeting from taking place. The SLORC also arrested 573 activists
to prevent unrest, but later released them in stages.
The NLD won a landslide victory in a 1990 general election, but was never
allowed to take power because the SLORC would not recognise the result of
the vote.  
(c) Reuters Limited 1996REUTER NEWS SERVICE
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