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Riot police in Pegu Division’s Letpadan have erected barricades in the street close to a monastery where student protestors are currently camped out as part of a protest against the National Education Law.
Dozens of officers in riot gear established the blockades on Monday afternoon, prohibiting movement around the Kyungalay- West Street area of the Aungmyin Beikman monastery in the town. Students who formed part of the Mandalay column of marching activists have been staying at the monastery during a 10-day hiatus from the demonstrations.
A DVB reporter at the scene said the police perimeter may contain some journalists and media observers.
The abbot of the Aungmyin Beikman monastery has been attempting to persuade police to lift the barricades. More police units have also been sighted a further 100 yards away.
Earlier on Monday, Pegu Division Border and Security Affairs Minister Thet Htun met with representatives of the student column in Letpadan and advised them against continuing with their march to Rangoon.
In the morning of 2 March, the minister spoke to four representatives of the column – named as Ko Shein, Myat Thu, Nandar Sint Aung and Moe Htet Nay – to remind them of a 28 February statement from the Home Affairs Ministry which called for an end to the protests. The activists were urged to take a ride by bus to the next town of Tharawaddy if they insist on going ahead, said Myat Thu, one of the student representatives.
“The Border and Security Affairs Minister suggested that if we want to go to Tharawaddy, we should get a ride there. He said that we should refrain from wearing bandanas, chanting slogans or carrying flags. If not, we should stay in Letpadan.
“We are not going to accept that. We are currently holding a meeting amongst ourselves. Demanding that we don’t chant slogans is unreasonable,” Myat Thu told DVB this morning.
Moe Htet Nay, another student representative who spoke to the minister, said, “Basically the officials want us to remain where we are. We were told to not continue the march.”
Student leader Min Thwe Thit said the students will continue to negotiate with the Pegu Division Border Affairs and Security Minister Col. Thet Htun to allow them passage to Rangoon.
“Our representatives at the moment are negotiating with the border and security affairs minister to allow them passage to Rangoon and provide us some kind of a guarantee concerning our security. We will know what happens when they return,” he said.