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Former US president Bush condemns crackdown on Myanmar protest

Student protesters look out from a prison vehicle as they are transported to a court in Letpadan March 11, 2015. — (Photo: Reuters)

March 14, 2015

WASHINGTON — Former US president George W. Bush yesterday hit out at a crackdown on student-led protests in Myanmar which have sparked international alarm, calling for the swift release of those arrested.

In a joint statement with his wife, ex-first lady Laura Bush, the former US leader urged Myanmar to free student leader Phyoe Phyoe Aung, who is a part of a forum run by the Bush Institute.

“We are deeply concerned about the recent arrests of peaceful demonstrators in Burma by local authorities,” Bush said, describing Phyoe Phyoe Aung as a “passionate advocate for education” in the Southeast Asian nation.

“Education is vital to the political, economic, and social well-being of every nation and people,” Bush said.

“We hope that those arrested will soon be released.”

Myanmar authorities detained some 127 demonstrators—including students and monks—in a frenzied crackdown on a protest in the central town of Letpadan on Tuesday, drawing condemnation from the opposition and Western nations.

Scores remain behind bars facing unknown charges and without access to their families, although authorities released a handful of students yesterday.

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