Since the recent grenade attacks on the Soviet and Cuban embassies in the Laotian capital, Vientiane, the Government has placed armed guards on most of the Communist bloc embassies in the city.
GV Guard outside Cuban embassy in Vientiane
CU Cuban embassy sign
SV Armed guards at entrance
SV Official car driving into Russian embassy and CU Sign (2 shots)
GV Russian embassy
GV North Vietnamese embassy with angry soldier walking towards cameraman
SV Soldier in street watching traffic pass
GV Ministry of Public Health hospital and sign (2 shots)
SV INTERIOR Ministry official talking to group in hospital and PAN AROUND Group listening (3 shots)
SV PAN AROUND Another group during discussion in another room of same hospital
GV EXTERIOR Hall
GV INTERIOR Government employees listening to speaker (5 shots)
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Background: Since the recent grenade attacks on the Soviet and Cuban embassies in the Laotian capital, Vientiane, the Government has placed armed guards on most of the Communist bloc embassies in the city.
The attack on the Russian embassy took place on 13 March. Four Russians were wounded when a grenade was thrown over the walls of the embassy. The blast knocked down some fencing around a tennis court, but no serious damage was caused. A group of Russian children had left the area only minutes before.
The Cuban embassy was attacked during the night of 2 April, and one militiaman was seriously wounded. Two grenades were thrown into the grounds of the embassy, the second one exploding just after a squad of local militia had arrived at the building.
On Monday (12 April) a big explosion was heard by travellers passing close to an arms and ammunition supply depot in the city. The people who heard the explosion did not know what had caused it, or how much damage it had done.
The Laotian authorities have blamed the attacks on "reactionary elements" and teenage delinquents, and the day before the latest attack, the Government announced that it was taking "draconian measures" to clamp down on the problem. During the previous 48 hours hundreds of people were reported to have been detained.
Many of them were understood to be foreigners, mainly Vietnamese or Chinese residents in Laos. The Laotian security forces are understood to have put the detainees under guard in various houses in Vientiane's four principal districts.
When announcing the measures, the Minister of Information, Mr. Sisana Sisan, said that the programme would also involved the re-education of "those who until now, were unwilling to meet with the new political realities". He said the delinquents would have several months of re-education during which they would learn how to behave properly.
In the middle of last month the authorities began a soft-line re-education campaign, designed to warn delinquent teenagers that they should change their behaviour. But subsequent news agency reports said that when this gentler approach failed to obtain the expected results, the authorities adopted the hardline approach announced by Mr. Sisan.
Those expected to attend the new re-education seminars included students freshly graduated from French universities or supposedly converted neutrals and right-wingers who were still considered reactionary. The new campaign was heralded during seminars organised by the Government for people's groups and professional organisations. A high percentage of those attending re-education seminars are government employees.