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Students have launched demonstrations against the National Education Law in the Magwe Division town of Pakokku.
Zeyar Lwin of the Pakokku University Students Union told DVB on Tuesday at midday that hundreds of students had banded together and were chanting and marching as they entered the university compound where hundreds more students greeted them, waving from their dormitories.
“We entered the Pakokku University compound and circumambulated the campus. Now we are back in the town and are having lunch at Independence Monument Park,” he said at 12:10pm. “After lunch, we will head to the Technological University.”
He said the protestors had not encountered resistance from police or local authorities, but a legal officer from a government branch had shown up and read aloud to them the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law.
The students say they plan to begin marching to Rangoon on Wednesday– via Chauk, Yenanchaung, Magwe and Prome, officially known as Pyay – a journey of over 640km.
Nearby in Taungtha, a column of students en route to Rangoon from Mandalay were met by a police blockade and began negotiations. On Monday, they were stopped by police in Myingyan. Earlier that day at Myingyan Degree College, the students removed the Burmese flag and replaced it with a flag featuring a fighting peacock, a symbol associated with student protest in days gone by.
Students in the towns of Pyapon, Bogale, Maubin, Henzada and Myaungmya in Irrawaddy Division say they plan to set off by foot to Rangoon on 30 January.
Another group of protestors in Tenasserim Division’s Tavoy (officially known as Dawei) were also planning to begin a march to Rangoon.
In late November, six members of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions were charged in Pegu for organising a public rally without official permission when they led about 100 activists in a protest against the National Education Bill in the city of Taungoo.