Letpadan 58 accuse police of brutality

Students on trial over a protest in support of education reform have sought legal action against alleged police brutality when they were arrested, their lawyer told Radio Free Asia last week.

The 58 students submitted a petition seeking legal action against the police during a trial hearing at Tharawaddy district court on August 25, lawyer Daw Khin Khin Kyaw told the broadcaster.

They were among 127 student activists and their supporters arrested at Letpadan in March after they were halted by police to prevent them from continuing a cross-country march to Yangon.

The petition alleged that the police used too much force, Daw Khin Khin Kyaw said outside the court.

“Many students were beaten by sticks and many were seriously injured; cars were destroyed,” told RFA.

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“The police were responsible for it all; we submitted this petition to take action against these police officers.”

More than 70 students went on trial in May on charges of unlawful assembly, rioting and causing injury to government employees, but some have been released on bail for medical or other reasons.

The protest was one of several against a national education law that students opposed because they said it limited the autonomy of universities and banned them from forming unions.

Students condemned the law after it was enacted last year, saying it failed to include provisions agreed in negotiations hastily arranged by the government after the protest marches to Yangon began from Mandalay and other cities.

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