Myanmar’s military rulers on Thursday accused foreign governments of trying to destroy the country, while soldiers carried out more overnight raids to arrest people suspected of joining a pro-democracy uprising.

Soldiers maintained a visible presence on the streets of Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city, where an eerie quiet has returned after last week’s deadly crackdown on the biggest anti-government rebellion in nearly two decades.

About 200 riot police were posted near the lakeside home of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, two dozen inside her compound and two patrol boats watching from the water.

With Internet access to the outside world blocked, state-controlled newspapers churned out the government’s version of the crisis and filled pages with propaganda slogans, such as “We favor stability. We favor peace,” and “We oppose unrest and violence.”

Critics from the international community and foreign media were dismissed as “liars attempting to destroy the nation” one of many bold-faced slogans covering The New Light of Myanmar newspaper’s back page Thursday.

Propaganda is routine in Myanmar, but the media attack on foreigners could be a sign the junta is trying to show citizens it is back in control of the country.

State-run newspapers made no mention of Buddhist monks being detained or of soldiers dragging people from their homes in nighttime raids.

Instead, coverage was devoted to pro-government rallies that have been held in stadiums around the country in recent days, such as one in the southeastern town of Myiek that New Light of Myanmar said was attended by 36,000 people.

Critics say the rallies are shams, filled with people ordered to attend by authorities.

Anti-junta demonstrations broke out in mid-August over a fuel price increase, then grew when monks took the lead last month. But the military crushed the protests with gunfire, tear gas and clubs starting on Sept. 26. The government said 10 people were killed, but dissident groups put the death toll at up to 200 and say 6,000 people were detained, including thousands of monks.

The body of a Japanese journalist killed in the crackdown was brought back to Japan on Thursday. Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said Tokyo was preparing to suspend aid to Myanmar in response.

A foreign aid worker said his staff told him that soldiers are continuing to raid homes at night to arrest people who took part in the demonstrations. Neighbors are alerting each other if they see troops coming, he said.

A U.N. Development Program employee, Myint Nwe Moe, and her husband, brother-in-law and driver were freed Thursday, a day after being arrested, said Charles Petrie, the U.N. humanitarian chief in Myanmar. He did not give details.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday in New York that his special envoy to Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, had delivered “the strongest possible message” to country’s military leaders about their bloody crackdown on democracy activists, but added that he could not call his four-day trip a success.

Gambari met with Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi twice and with the junta’s leader, Senior Gen. Than Shwe, and his deputies before leaving the country Tuesday. He is expected to brief Ban about his trip Thursday, then Ban will discuss Myanmar with the Security Council on Friday.

China, a veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council and a close ally of Myanmar, praised the meeting between Than Shwe and Gambari, and appealed to all parties in the country to remain calm and resume stability “as soon as possible.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said Beijing has “made its own efforts to support Ban and his Myanmar special envoy’s negotiations.” It did not elaborate.

China, Myanmar’s biggest trading partner, has developed close diplomatic ties with junta leaders and is hungry for the country’s bountiful oil and gas resources. But with the Beijing Olympics only months away, China wants to fend off criticism it shelters unpopular or abusive regimes around the world.

Despite its appearance of control, the junta’s grip may weaken over time, an analyst said.

“Maybe the government can control this for the next weeks, months, maybe a year or so,” said David Steinberg, a Myanmar expert at Georgetown University.

“But eventually there will be some spark that will set things off and they (the people) will become more and more violent over time,” he said in an interview in Singapore.

For now, the people who took part in the protests say they’re too afraid to return to the streets.

One 29-year-old in Yangon, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being identified, said he had joined the protests but stopped after seeing plainclothes security agents taking his picture. Now he wonders if there’s any hope for change.

“If the United Nations can’t do anything, we will have big difficulties overcoming our present situation,” he said.

Some of the world’s best-known novelists, poets and artists of Asian heritage called on the junta to stop its repressive campaign and release political prisoners. Thirty artists signed an “open letter to Burma,” as the country was previously called, that condemned the bloody crackdown.

Thousands of bloggers from at least 45 nations joined a cyberspace protest of the junta Thursday by posting “Free Burma” banners on their pages, according to the drive’s Web site.

Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962. The current junta came to power after snuffing out a 1988 pro-democracy movement against the previous military dictatorship, killing at least 3,000 people in process.

The generals called elections in 1990 but refused to give up power when Suu Kyi’s party won. The opposition leader has spent nearly 12 of the last 18 years under house arrest.