Police cracked down on student protesters opposing Myanmar’s new education law yesterday, roughly grabbing demonstrators and loading them onto trucks in the third such clampdown in as many days.
A photographer and other witnesses in Letpadan, 140km north of the country’s main city Yangon, said the incident happened when about 20 students broke off from a larger group of protesters gathering at a nearby monastery.
Police swooped, dragging five people, including a young woman, into trucks, they said.
The demonstrators — among hundreds protesting in different cities for more than a month — want the government to scrap the education law that they say curbs academic freedom.
Eight demonstrators were released earlier yesterday after they were detained a day earlier in Yangon when police charged at them with batons and dragged them into trucks.
Police launched a similar crackdown on Wednesday against factory workers rallying for higher pay and better working conditions just outside Yangon.
Since Myanmar started moving from a half-century of brutal military rule toward democracy four years ago, the government has found itself grappling with the consequences of newfound freedoms of expression.
The groups at Letpadan and at Sule Pagoda want the government to scrap a law passed by parliament in September last year that puts all decisions about education policy and curriculum in the hands of a group largely made up of government ministers. Students say the law undermines the autonomy of universities struggling to recover after clampdowns on academic independence during the military’s rule.
LIFE GOES ON: After a strict lockdown that left millions on the brink of starvation, Indians embrace work to avoid starvation and get ready for several major festivals India is on course to top the world in COVID-19 cases, but from Maharashtra’s whirring factories to Kolkata’s thronging markets, people are back at work — and eager to forget the pandemic for festival season. After a strict lockdown in March that left millions on the brink of starvation, the government and people of the world’s second-most populous country decided life must go on. Sonali Dange, for instance, has two young daughters and an elderly mother-in-law to look after. She was hospitalized this year in excruciating pain after catching the novel coronavirus. However, after the lockdown exhausted the family’s savings, the 29-year-old had
A COVID-19 outbreak among hundreds of Russian and Ukrainian fishers flown to New Zealand to bolster its struggling deep-sea fishing industry has prompted that country’s largest daily increase in infections in months, authorities said yesterday. More than 230 fishers were flown in from Moscow last week, with 18 of the crew members then testing positive for COVID-19 while in quarantine, New Zealand Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said. The Pacific nation has almost eliminated local transmission of the virus, but regularly records small numbers of new cases in returned travelers. The fishing cluster pushed the daily tally of new infections to 25,
From monitoring vital signs to filtering filthy air and even translating speech into other languages, the COVID-19-fueled boom in mask-wearing has spawned an unusual range of high-tech face coverings. As masks become the norm worldwide, tech companies and researchers are rolling out weird and wonderful models to guard against infection and cash in on a growing trend. One of the wackiest comes from Japan, where start-up Donut Robotics has created a face covering that helps users adhere to social distancing and also acts as a translator. The “C-Face” mask works by transmitting a wearer’s speech to a smartphone via an app, and allows
JAPAN Deer-edible bags invented The deer that roam Nara no longer face discomfort — or far worse — after local firms developed a safe alternative to the plastic packaging discarded by tourists that often ended up in the animals’ stomachs. Last year, several of the 1,300 deer that wander around the ancient capital’s central park were found dead after swallowing plastic bags and food wrappers. Firms collaborated to develop bags that pass safely through the animals’ complex digestive system. The bags are made with recycled pulp from milk cartons and rice bran, one of the main ingredients of the shika senbei savory