[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 26 October 2007, 05:55 GMT 06:55 UK
Soldiers back on Rangoon streets
File image of a Burmese soldier outside Shwedagon pagoda in Rangoon
Soldiers are again guarding key points in Rangoon
Burmese troops have returned to the streets of Rangoon, a month on from one of the bloodiest days of a military crackdown on anti-government protests.

Armed soldiers surrounded the Shwedagon and Sule pagodas, both focal points for the demonstrations in September.

The troop presence, coinciding with the end of Buddhist Lent, is thought to be aimed at preventing new protests.

It also comes a day after detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi met a military officer for talks.

Ms Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest in Rangoon, spent over an hour with government liaison officer Aung Kyi.

He was appointed earlier this month after UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari urged Burma's top generals to engage in dialogue with opposition groups.

Mr Gambari is currently in Japan - part of a trip to visit Burma's neighbours and key trading allies in a bid to build an international consensus over the situation.

'Really thrilled'

There has been serious international concern over Burma since troops used force last month to end weeks of anti-government protests.

The government says 10 people died, but diplomats fear the toll was far higher, and even a month on, hundreds are thought to be in detention.

Aung San Suu Kyi, photographed receiving the UN's Ibrahim Gambari on 2 October
Ms Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for 12 of the past 18 years

Now troops armed with rifles have reappeared at key spots in Rangoon.

Soldiers had coils of barbed wire ready to seal off the streets, Reuters news agency reported, but there were no signs of fresh protests despite the presence of large numbers of pilgrims, other reports said.

On the streets, news of Aung San Suu Kyi's meeting with the authorities was welcomed.

"We were all really thrilled to hear this news," one teashop owner told Reuters. "I hope it is the beginning of a turning point."

No details have emerged from the talks, although state media showed an image of the two sitting formally in high-backed chairs.

Nyan Win, a spokesman for Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, said he hoped it was "the beginning of the (reconciliation) process".

But previous attempts to build dialogue between the military and Ms Suu Kyi have come to nothing.

Burma's top leader, General Than Shwe, has said he will only engage in dialogue with her if she drops both her support for international sanctions and her "confrontational attitude".

The National League for Democracy won a convincing victory in elections in 1990, but was never allowed to take power.

Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has spent 12 of the last 18 years under house arrest.

UN envoy to Burma on his tour of Asia


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific