In a protest against the National Education Law, some 100 students marching over 600 km from Mandalay in central Burma to the former capital, Rangoon, arrived in the town of Myingyan on Sunday.
Min Thwe Thit, a member of the Committee for Democratic Education Movement, an organisation spearheading protests against the controversial schooling law, said local police in Myingyan, southern Mandalay Division, met them at a village named Nyaungbin, near the entrance to the town, and advised them to seek official permission to protest in accordance with the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law. However no further delays or harassment were reported.
After marching for almost a week, the protestors were joined on Sunday by 56 Buddhist monks from the Young Monks Union from neighbouring Magwe Division. They are expected to rendezvous next month in Rangoon with a second column of student protestors who are conducting a simultaneous march from Tavoy [Dawei] in southern Burma’s Tenasserim Division.
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.
“Student unions have objected to the National Education Law ever since it was at the drafting stage,” said Swe Linn Tun, the Mandalay district chair of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, speaking to DVB in November. “This law centralises control with the government, offers no guarantee for freedom of education, and does not include provisions to allow for the forming of student unions.”