NEW DELHI - A days-long standoff between security forces and students protesting a new education law in Myanmar dissolved into bloody chaos Tuesday about 90 miles from the country's commercial capital of Yangon, with police beating protesters with lathe sticks and herding them into military vehicles. More than 100 people were arrested, including journalists, and more than two dozen people were injured, according to state-run media.
Students in Myanmar have been protesting in Yangon and elsewhere for weeks over the country's new education law, passed in September, which they say is too strict.
A group of student associations called the Action Committee for Democratic Education issued a manifesto earlier this year with 11 demands, asking for the right to establish student unions at their schools, freedom to study the country's ethnic languages, and greater funding for education.
The country's quasi-civilian government, which came to power in 2011, had been in talks with the students, but the discussions were at an impasse. Students had massed near the town of Letpadan, about 90 miles north of Yangon, on March 2 and had been in a tense standoff since then with riot police until violence erupted Tuesday.
Myanmar's Ministry of Information had no formal comment on the day's events but posted photos on its Facebook page of students wearing the movement's red head scarves, tugging down barbed-wire barricades and being herded onto military vehicles.
The chaos evoked earlier incidents of repression by Myanmar's brutal military regime, which ruled the long-isolated Southeast Asian nation for nearly 50 years.
In 1988, a student uprising was quashed by the government, with hundreds killed and imprisoned.
Human-rights activists are watching the student protests closely to see if they will become a rallying point for the population's general concerns about the pace of reforms and democracy.