Myanmar students call for release of all detainees in protest

Myanmar students call for release of all detainees in protest
Myanmar student protesters and activists gesture from a departing police truck following a court hearing in Letpadan on April 7, 2015. Dozens of Myanmar students and activists arrived at court for a hearing in the central town of Letpadan on April 7 after they were arrested in a police crackdown on a student-led protest that sparked international alarm.

The students of All Burma Federation of Student Union (Ba-Ka-Tha) staged a protest in front of Letpandan township court on April 7 demanding an immediate release of the students and supporters detained in the custody as they demonstrated against the national education law in Letpadan during March.

Apart from 69 students and supporters formerly detained at Thayawady Prison, Nanda Sit Aung who is one of the leaders of Ba-Ka-Tha arrested by the police in Yangon was also brought to the third trial at the same time.

The police stopped cars, bicycles and motorcycles from entering the entrance road to the court and the visitors were allowed to walk there during the third trial.

The families were allowed to see the detained students and supporters for fifteen minutes upon their arrival at the court.

The police were strict with the journalists taking photographs in the morning of trial period. The detained students were allowed to meet the journalists for a while after hearing the trials at the court.

Some people arriving in front of the compound of the court demanded to meet with the detained students and do the court hearing transparently before the people.

"The students kept their promise. If we break promise, the government can tell us. All the people knew that the government broke its promise. We need not tell about that. The government failed to its promise of no use of violence against the students.

The government practicing democratic system should not use dictatorship manner.

Negotiation process can be seen in all aspects of the country. In this state, if the government fails to keep its promise, nothing will happen.

Now the police have held the students.

The most responsible government should not display immature behaviour," Nanda Sit Aung said.

The visitors coming to the court were wearing black armbands and cotton hats bearing the words "No violence". But the families who would see the detained students were not allowed wearing the armbands and the hats.

At noon, more than 15 Ba-Ka-Tha students staged a protest in front of the court chanting the slogans of "Immediate release of detained students", "No violence" and "We want democracy education".

"The students want democracy education. We want all the demands rapidly implemented," Victor, the member of Taungoo District, said.

Moreover, a male showed a performance of releasing the detained students in front of the compound of the court.

"The case is not here. The government applied for the change of court from Letpadan to Thayawady.

It is Section 526 of Criminal Law. The authorities will decide the change of court on April 23. The court will be changed for security reason. The police carried out strict security in the morning of the trial.

The first demand of the students was that the court hearing must be transparent in the presence of the people. The second of the students was that they did not want handcuffs during the trial.

The police handcuffing the students seem to have a grudge against them. We support the students' protest. They have nothing to do with political purpose, but something with the education," lawyer Thein Than Oo of Myanmar Lawyers' Network said.

"I have now known about a strange thing. It is that two groups of police made the students walk between them to the prison vehicle and then they [the police] beat them. If this matter is right, it should not be. It is supposed that it is the government-sponsored violence. I must investigate into this matter. The under-aged students were also seen. The police did not suppose that the students of distant education are the students. I asked who the students of distance education were. I will put forward the documents related to the students. Some are good in health, but some are not. I will help the students within the frame of law," Nyo Nyo Thin, the representative of Yangon Region parliament, said.

About half past twelve in the afternoon, the detained students and the supporters were carried back to Thayawady Prison by the prison vehicle. At that time, the people arriving at the court and the detained students sang the songs of 'Thway-this-sar' and 'Kaba-ma-kyay-bu'.

"We never forget the amendment to the national education law which is the main objective of the students. We will stick to this point. The current judicial system is not transparent at all. We are still difficult to see the lawyer. Some detained students have not met their families yet. We are the students who are struggling for the amendment to the national education law and it is also the future interest of the State. Such arrests of the students and the supporters go against the democracy Thein Sein's administration longs for.

Today, the real result has been out," Phyoe Phyoe Aung, the leading committee member of democracy education movement, one of the leaders of the students from the main column, told the media.

The students and the supporters were charged with Section 143, Section 145, Section 147, Section 332 and Section 505 (b). The court announced students' leaders Kyaw Ko Ko, Ye Yint Kyaw (a) Kyaw Soe Moe and Myat Thu (a) Myat Thu Aung as the culprits running. The next trial is scheduled on April 9.

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