Students in Myanmar are persisting in their hunger strike, which was taken up as a means of peaceful protest calling for the release of political prisoners.
Aung Hmaing San, leader of the protest and member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, was arrested earlier this year along with 70 other students and student leaders at a protest against government educational reforms. He began his hunger strike on October 23 to advocate for the release of political prisoners in Myanmar and many more students quickly joined him.
Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy party (NLD), who won a victory in this month’s democratic elections in Myanmar, and other political leaders have urged the students to call off their strike amid fears that it could upset the post-election transition to the new government.
Some students agreed last week to temporarily halt their strike for health reasons, but have said that they will start their protest again if they feel that they have not been heard.
However, Aung Hmaing San, despite being taken to hospital on November 14 due to ill health, has said that he will continue fasting. Speaking to University World News last week, he said: “I won’t call off my strike at the moment.” He also announced that we will be refusing medication and food while in hospital. “I won’t eat any food. I won’t accept any medicine and medical treatment. I told [the authorities] they could check my health condition, but I won’t accept medical treatment,” he said.