Myanmar govt not telling truth on student crackdown

Myanmar govt not telling truth on student crackdown
Police clash with student protesters during a protest in Letpadan March 10, 2015.

The government's news release about the police crackdown on student protesters in Letpadan of Bago Region goes against the real situation on the ground, reporters at the scene said.

The government's announcement said that the police did not use violence against student protesters. The police had to crackdown on protesters as they started throwing stones at the police.

"The police started beating protesters at the scene. But I don't know how the clashes between the police and protesters began. At that time, I was covering the news on the arrest of the protesters outside the protest camp. The police were seemed dragging reporters from the Union Daily and the Voice while nine students and one civilian were being loaded onto the car.

"Thanks to local people's help, both reporters manage to escape from the police arrest. But the police confiscated camera and phone from the reporter of the Union Daily," said a local reporter.

According to the announcement of the Information Ministry, Myanmar Police Force (MPF) had to disperse sit-in protesters near Aungmyaybeikman monastery in Letpadan in accordance with laws after the protesters started removing the barricades and threw stones at the police. The police detained 127 protesters - 107 males and 20 females.

"There are right and wrong factors in this case. The police started beating protesters. It seems that the police launched the crackdown on protesters intentionally", said a local reporter working for a foreign news agency.

"The police beat everybody without incrimination. I myself had to run into a house. Police also attacked civilians, even those in the house. Fortunately, I was not beaten as the house owner kept me in his house. I could go outside at about 4 p.m. and then arrived back in Yangon in the evening," said Khin Maung Win, a photo journalist from the AP news agency.

"A total of 127 protesters have been detained in Thayawaddy jail," Police Col Win Shein said when asked by the Daily Eleven.

"It is very disappointing to read and hear the MRTV's news and the government's unfair announcements. Similar releases in 1988 sparked the anger of the people," said a Yangon resident.

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