RANGOON — Police launched a crackdown on about 200 students and activists, including a well-known women’s rights defender, who were staging a protest in downtown Rangoon on Thursday afternoon.
The demonstration near City Hall was held to protest an ongoing police blockade in Letpadan, about 85 miles northwest of Rangoon, where a separate group of students has been marching against a controversial education law passed last year.
At about 4:30 pm, police beat the Rangoon protestors with batons after a group of plainclothes agitators attempted to interfere in the protest, according to Pho Tha, a student protestor from Dagon University who said he was speaking to The Irrawaddy from a detention truck.
“In our truck, there are eight people, including some leaders from the 88 student group [88 Generation Peace and Open Society,” he said, naming prominent women’s rights activist Nilar Thein as among those held.
According to a reporter for The Irrawaddy who was on the scene, protestors were dragged into two light trucks parked nearby and at least two were believed to have been wounded in the altercation.