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Protesting students passed through the town of Sintgaing, around 30km south of Mandalay, on Wednesday. The group are marching south to Rangoon from central Burma’s Mandalay to protest against the controversial National Education Law
The protesters were scheduled to spend the night in the nearby town of Kyaukse.
Ye Yint Kyaw, the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) spokesperson who is leading the march, told DVB that government officials in the town met the group of students as they stopped for lunch and handed them copies of Wednesday’s state-run newspapers that carried reports of President Then Sein’s message to parliament that urged a review and revisions of the law, as per their demands. The law was previously approved by parliament in September of last year.
“We were stopping for a meal and the town administrator and special branch police officers came to meet us. They handed each student a copy of the newspaper carrying the report about the president’s letter to the parliament,” said Ye Yint Kyaw.
He said the authorities at their next stop of Kyaukse had pressured a local monastery not to allow them stay as planned.
“We were informed that the monastery where we are planning to stay was visited by the officials and the police. They were warned to not accommodate us as we did not have permission,” he said. “We had to find another place to stay.”
There are around 100 protesters in the march.
Meanwhile, another group of student protestors were holding a rally in Tavoy, officially known as Dawei, in southern Burma’s Tenasserim Division.
Min Lwin Oo, a student at Tavoy’s Technological University, said that the group marched from Ayosankan monastery to the university on Wednesday.
“Once we were at the university gates, we were stopped by the principal – after some arguing, we were allowed in and we persuaded other students to join us from their classrooms,” Min Lwin Oo said to DVB.
“There were about 200 students in the end, and we staged a sit-in.”
The students are also planning another demonstration at the Tavoy University and Education College on Thursday. Min Lwin Oo said they have sought permission from the town’s police to stage protests from 22 to 24 January.