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Myanmar Student Protests Enter Day Four

A student carries a monk's alms bowl turned upside down over his head, a Burmese symbol of protest, during a rally against education law in central Yangon, Nov. 17, 2014.

Hundreds of Myanmar students marched through Yangon for a fourth straight day to protest a national education law they say will curb academic freedom.

The students, who demonstrated peacefully Monday, are unhappy with new legislation that will centralize control of universities in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

Officials from the Education Ministry met with student leaders Sunday, but the negotiations ended without any progress.

Zaw Htay, director general of the Higher Education Department, tells VOA's Burmese service that authorities are willing to work with the students to address their concerns.

“If the demands are true desires of the students, there is a possible way for them to be addressed," he said. "We need to work or negotiate with each other. If they have true desire, we should sit and work on how to implement their demands. We do nothing to oppose their desires.”

On Monday, students urged authorities to comply with their demands within 60 days. Students said they made recommendations just before the drafting the national education bill, but were ignored.

Phyo Phyo Oo, Secretary General of All Burma Federation of Student Unions, says the students are prepared to continue for as long as it takes.

“We won't stop our boycott against the Education Law. We will continue the strikes and we will speed up our movement unless they comply with our demands.”

The protests began on Friday while U.S. President Barack Obama held a town hall meeting at Yangon University.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Burmese service.

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