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A leader of the ‘column’ of students who marched towards Rangoon from Irrawaddy Division in protest of the National Education Law has been sentenced to three months imprisonment with hard labour.
Teacher Wai Yan Aung was sentenced at Pathein [Bassein] township court under Article 18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law for organising a public protest without official permission.
“The trial was for the peaceful sit-in demonstration by students of the Irrawaddy region in front of the city hall of Bassein [Pathein], protesting the violent police crackdown on the main student protest column [in Letpadan, Pegu Division],” said Aung Aung Kyaw, another leader of the student movement in Irrawaddy.
Wai Yan Aung is a tutor from Bassein Government Technical College who joined up with local students in protest against the widely unpopular National Education Law, which activists say stifles academic freedom.
He later became a member of the organising committee of the protests and marched alongside students from Irrawaddy when student groups from all over the country began marching to Rangoon. He is the first protester to be handed a prison sentence from the Irrawaddy column.