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In its 13.00 GMT news bulletin, the BBC World Service
developed its previous reports on the arrest of U Kyi Maung
and the student demonstration. The BBC reported that U Kyi
Maung, Deputy Chairman of the NLD, was arrested and taken to
Insein Jail, from where he was released only last year. 
News Announcer (NA):"His arrest came after 500 university
students defied government bans and staged a public
demonstration, protesting against the arrest of students
involved in an earlier scuffle with a restaurant owner. The
junta has claimed the NLD was trying to politicise the
students' grievances. On the line now I've got our
correspondent Ian Simpson. Ian, what was this student protest
Ian Simpson (IS):"Well, it was basically protesting against
what they were saying was police brutality. At the weekend
there was a scuffle in a restaurant, as you mentioned. Several
students were arrested and the students say that their
colleagues say that they were badly beaten by the police; so
they were protesting against this brutality and they were
demanding that there should be an official investigation into
what happened, and also that the State media should carry a
full report on exactly what happened at the weekend."
NA: "Is there any truth in the authorities' claim that the NLD
was trying to piggyback the student demonstration?"
IS: "I don't think it's true that the NLD was trying to
piggyback the demonstration. What may be true is that the
students were talking to some people in the NLD to try to
involve them. It's not absolutely clear what happened, but
there were rumours in Rangoon this morning that what had
happened was that the students had actually tried to get to
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's house and have a meeting with her last
night, and that the Military Intelligence and the police had
prevented them from getting there and had reimposed the
roadblocks on the street outside her house in University
Avenue, and the roadblocks this morning were certainly still
"The interesting thing about this I think is that the students
held a public protest in the first place; because that's a
fairly rare event in Rangoon, and the fact that they were able
and willing to protest in public against what they say is
police brutality, a direct protest against the authorities, is
a very brave and possibly dangerous move."
NA: "What's the situation like in Rangoon at the moment,
because we keep seeing increases in tension, decreases in
tension, almost as if the two parties were uncertain of each
other's strength?"
IS: "I think the tension is very much there; the only increase
and decrease really is in the number of arrests and the number
of detentions. The tension is there all the time, particularly
for ordinary people living in the city. They try to go about
their daily business, but when something like this happens,
when the students are faced with direct police action against
them, then they take the matter into their own hands; they
stage the demonstrations, and really they are then at risk,
because in the past when demonstrations like this have
happened, the authorities have cracked down very brutally on
them." [ENDS]
(See the Human Rights Watch/Asia press release of 23/Oct/96
and the various wires for more details)
David Arnott (Burma Peace Foundation) darnott@xxxxxxxxxxx