Friday, 21 November 2014 Over 80 high school students gathered yesterday to protest against the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC), a military-owned company that has constructed a fence around Oo Mya Ngar Sin Port in Ahlone Township, blocking their way to school.
The students are from Oo Mya Ngar Sin Gyaung Wine Gyi and Gyaung Wine Lay villages, which are located across the Yangon River from Ahlone Township.
Construction of the fence began at around midnight on November 8. It surrounds the port and the street leading to No.7 Basic Education High School, Ahlone.
Although the authorities have arranged negotiations between students and the MEC, the students’ parents are not satisfied because the fence continues to prevent labourers from using the port. Many labourers make their livelihoods by crossing the river into Yangon daily.
“We have to work daily for our living. The students have to go along the street on their way to school. The headmistress and officials from MEC said this morning that only the students can use the street, not the labourers. We can give the students education if only we earn the money for the living. If they don’t let us use the street, the students will not attend school,” a student’s mother said.
The port and the street, which is 20 feet wide and 1,800 feet long, were opened by the Yangon regional government on May 6, 2014, according to boat drivers. With the closing of the port, this is the sixth time the boat drivers in the area have had change their routes into the city.
On the morning of November 20, the school headmistress issued a warning saying that students who miss lessons for three days will be dismissed from the school. The headmistress also instructed students not to let absentees copy lessons, according to a parent.
Yesterday afternoon, officials from district administrator’s office came to remove the fence temporarily to let students attend school, and they said they will negotiate in the event of future complications. But the students’ parents were not satisfied, and negotiations did not succeed.
Students sang the national anthem and other patriotic songs at their protest against the fence. Some charity organizations distributed food and drinks at the protest.
Authorities posted signboards announcing that the Gyaung Wine Lay ferry port has moved to Maung Lay creek at the instruction of Yangon regional government and urged people to use that port only.
ELEVEN MEDIA -photcr. nay myo zin