Summary of the Current Situation
As of the end of March 173 political prisoners remain incarcerated in Burma, with 316 activists currently awaiting trial for political actions. The government continues to disregard its responsibility to adhere to international human rights standards, and instead violates the rights of its citizens, oppresses media, and violently cracks down on any form of dissent or opposition. The following chronology documents the political prisoner numbers from March and, in the light of the events related to the student demonstrations in Letpadan, gives a separate account of the extensive number of students and supporters arrested in relation to the March 10 crackdown.
This month in total 92 political activists were charged, 31 of which were arrested. 7 were sentenced, and 3 were released. Thousands of garment workers from Red Stone, Costec, E Land Myanmar, and Ford Glory factories in Rangoon’s industrial zone have been striking against factory conditions and for better pay. Following violent action by police on March 5, 21 more protesters face charges for rioting and allegedly instigating the protests and face up to two years in prison if convicted. Two reporters were also arrested but freed shortly after. The student protests against the New Education Law, which centralizes power with the government rather than the universities, took a new turn during the month of March.