Charges Filed Against Students Over Jan. 20 Protest March

By Zarni Mann 11 February 2016

MANDALAY — Mandalay Division police have opened a lawsuit against four student activists for allegedly leading a commemoration ceremony in January marking a student protest march against Burma’s controversial National Education Law.

The four students— Kaung Zaw Hein, Shine Min Htet Zaw, Khaing Zin Thet and Nyan Lin Htet—are being charged under the Peaceful Assembly Act by police in Aungmyaythazan, Chanayethazan and Maha Aung Myay townships, according to the Mandalay divisional police office.

A police officer said that the four student activists have been requested to present at their respective police stations in order to proceed with the case, as it is bailable.

“They organized a protest without permission. If they don’t show up, their arrest warrants will be issued at once, and the court will accept the case,” said an officer.

On Jan. 20 over 30 students from Mandalay’s Yadanapon University and students from the Mandalay Student Union joined together in a march to commemorate one year since the long march from Mandalay to Rangoon, an act of protest against Burma’s National Education Law.

Their march terminated at Letpadan, Pegu Division, when police brutally cracked down on protesters. Over 50 student activists remain in jail for their role in the protest.

During the ceremony last month students urged the government for the immediate release of the activists detained at Thayawady Prison, as well as the release of all political prisoners across the country.

Arrest warrants for Kaung Zaw Hein and Shine Min Htet Zaw were issued at a court in Chanayethazan Township in 2014 for distributing leaflets and protesting at Zaygyo Bazar.

Nyan Lin Htet faced a prison term for a graffiti protest on the grounds of Yadanapon University and was released at the end of 2015 after serving the sentence.