Five Detained in Myanmar Crackdown on Student Protests


Protesters shout slogans during a protest march supporting the student protests demanding an amendment to the 'National Education Bill' in Yangon, Myanmar, 04 March 2015. At least five people have been detained in Myanmar as police continued to block about 100 student protesters from marching over education reform. EPA/LYNN BO BO

YANGON (DPA) – At least five people were detained in Myanmar on Friday as police continued to block about 100 student protesters from marching over education reform, activists and witnesses said.

Students had been marching from Myanmar's second-largest city of Mandalay and two other cities towards the commercial capital of Yangon since January, demanding changes to or the scrapping of a recently passed education law. They had gathered in Letpadan, about 145 kilometres north of Yangon.

"Five people including a young girl were dragged into trucks by police this morning," said Win Khaing, a witness to the incident.

"We urge the authorities to release all detainees," said Kyaw Ko Ko, a leader of student protesters in Letpadan. 

Earlier Friday, police in Yangon released six people who were detained during a smaller protest involving dozens of people in the city held in solidarity with the students.

The crackdown in Letpadan began on Monday when more than a dozen police vehicles, including a water cannon truck, arrived outside the monastery where the marchers were staying.

Police had said they would not allow the march to enter the Yangon region, and protester numbers have reportedly decreased at the site.

 

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