Authorities in Burma Tuesday released 51 people who were arrested during last week's anti-government demonstrations in the capital of Rangoon, state-run Radio Rangoon said.
Student groups meanwhile distributed leaflets in Rangoon calling for street demonstrations Wednesday to demand an end to 26 years of authoritarian rule, diplomats and journalists said.Radio Rangoon said of those detained on Aug. 8-9, 51 were freed from Insein Prison and handed over to parents and guardians. The broadcast, monitored in Bangkok, said 47 of those released were students.
It did not identify those freed. Because of the dates given, it was doubtful that among those released were Burma's leading dissident, Aung Gyi, and the Burmese correspondent of The Associated Press, Sein Win. The two were among 10 people detained July 29-30.
The releases were the first reported since the demonstrations ended last Friday with the resignation of President Sein Lwin. Radio Rangoon had said early on Aug. 9 that authorities had arrested more than 700 demonstrators overnight. Later that day, it reported 1,451 arrests in Rangoon but didn't make clear if that included the 700 figure.
A large number of other dissidents were arrested before and after Aug. 8-9.
Students distributed leaflets calling for protests and attached identical posters on trees, mailboxes and walls of major buildings Tuesday. The buildings include Rangoon General Hospital, which became a rallying point for protesters after security forces allegedly shot doctors and nurses there during the riots.
Soldiers made no attempt to take down the posters, said Liu Zhen Ting, a journalist for Singapore's United Morning News daily, upon returning to Bangkok Tuesday.
China's Xinhua news agency meanwhile reported 177 Burmese lawyers signed a document charging last week's shooting of demonstrators violated Burma's Constitution and the U.N. declaration of human rights. The agency said the nation's bar association submitted the document Monday to the Council of State, or the president's office.
The Xinhua report from Rangoon said the council sent copies of the document to foreign embassies and to the U.N. secretary general.