FIFTY Burmese students staged a brief protest demonstration at their embassy in Bangkok yesterday to mark the sixth anniversary of a military coup that ended a nationwide uprising for democracy in 1988.
The students called on the international community to put pressure on the junta, the State Law and Order Restoration Council, to hold direct talks with democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains under house arrest in the capital of Rangoon (also known as Yangon). They also demanded that the world community boycott the Burmese military and declare it illegal for junta leaders to deposit their money abroad.
The students carried pictures of Ms. Suu Kyi and dispersed peacefully after 20 minutes.
A Rangoon-based diplomat said that despite the anniversary, there were no celebrations, parades, or protests in the capital.
Rwandan upbraids West
RWANDA'S new government has sharply attacked the West, already criticized for acting too late in the country's crisis, for failing to give it sufficient support and for misunderstanding the causes of the conflict.
President Pasteur Bizimungu, addressing an international conference on Rwanda in The Hague, Netherlands, criticized the West, saying the conflict was falsely seen as one between the majority Hutu ethnic group and the minority Tutsis.
``World perception of our problem is on the wrong track,'' Mr. Bizimungu said. He added that the West needed to shed the old stereotypes of seeing Rwanda's tragedy as the result of a Hutu-Tutsi battle, stressing that the conflict had its roots in colonialism.
He insisted that ``opportunist politicians'' who had ruled Rwanda through division were to blame for inciting people to violence.
The two-day meeting, which brought together more than 100 representatives from African and European governments, aid groups, United Nations agencies, and the Organization of African Unity, listed proposals on how to end the conflict. One of the main proposals was the formation of a special tribunal ``to bring to justice the perpetrators of genocide, massacres, and other crimes of humanity.''
Bizimungu, while thankful for the millions of dollars in humanitarian aid, appealed to the international community to help bring those responsible for genocide to justice.
The UN, which has pledged to deploy nearly 150 human-rights investigators in Rwanda, has only sent a handful so far, and remnants of the former government Army are regrouping in refugee camps in neighboring countries and in southwestern Rwanda.