Students stone Electricity Power Corporation building

Mar 10, 2009 (DVB), Security has been tightened in Mon state capital, Moulmein, after high school students threw rocks at the state-run Electric Power Corporation last Friday, demanding full electricity while they sit their exams.

A local resident in Moulmein told DVB that electricity was available only to houses of government officials and individuals who could afford to bribe EPC authorities.

He said it was cut off from rest of the town.

Around 50 tenth-grade high school students, who are due to sit exams from 11 March to 20 March, grew frustrated after being unable to study at night.

They gathered in front the EPC building at midnight on 6 March and threw rocks at it.

"The students demanded the EPC to provide full electricity to the town during the exams," said the Moulmein resident.

He said the protest was joined by some local people, and ended after about an hour. The day after the protest, electricity was provided throughout the town for a full day, but was then cut off again.

The resident said that authorities had intensified security in town, deploying full-geared police officers in the streets.

"Police security is everywhere in town, with officers equipped with shields and riot-gear," he said. "They are searching motorbikes at checkpoints."

Some other residents in Moulmein said there was no sign of students staging another protest.

The All Burma Federation of Student Unions in Thailand yesterday released a statement supporting the students.

"While students who are about to sit their exam cannot learn their lessons because of too much electricity going out, there is full power supply in military areas and it can highlight the big difference between military and civilian life," it said.

Reporting by Thurein Soe

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