Burmese officials arrested and temporarily incarcerated 20 activists before the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the military’s crackdown on students in 1962.
The All Burma Federation of Student Union’s General Secretary ABFSU said she and three other members of the group were taken into custody on 6 July in Rangoon and detained over night at the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“We were taken to the Ministry of Home Affairs but there wasn’t much questioning and such,” said Phyo Phyo Aung. “They asked us what time the event was scheduled to be held the next day and told us to go sleep.”
According to the general secretary, ABFSU members were taken into custody in Rangoon, Mandalay, Myingyan and Shwebo, and Shan state’s Lashio on 6 July but were released the following day.
“When you look to a democratic nation – the constitution allows freedom for formation of associations, but we feel like this law is unreachable to us. We don’t feel the law can provide us safety,” said ABFUSU member D Nyein Linn.
According to the AFP, about 300 people gathered in Rangoon despite the arrests to commemorate the brutal assault on students protesting against military rule at Rangoon University five decades ago.
The detention of the activists comes days after the government granted amnesty to more than 40 prisoners on 3 July.