Myanmar: Intimidation and imprisonment September - December 1996
Political tension in Myanmar escalated steadily in 1996, characterized by political brinkmanship between the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) and the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD). Each time the NLD attempted to organize large-scale political activities, the SLORC rapidly took steps to stifle them, including mass arrests, long-term sentencing, restrictions on movement and intimidation of NLD members and leaders. Almost 2000 people were known to have been arrested for political reasons in central Myanmar alone. Although most were released, hundreds are believed to remain in detention. Peaceful political meetings, gatherings and demonstrations were broken up by the SLORC, sometimes violently. In the latter part of the year students staged large-scale demonstrations in Yangon, Mandalay and elsewhere, protesting initially against the alleged beating of three students by police, later calling for the establishment of a student union and democratic and human rights. This report summarizes the events and gives details on arrests from the end of September to the end of December 1996.