Police have cracked down on students and other activists opposing Myanmar's new education law, charging protesters with batons and dragging them into trucks at a landmark pagoda in the heart of the old capital, Yangon.

An Associated Press photographer said several demonstrators had slight injuries.

About 30 protesters — including prominent activist Nilar Thein and other student leaders — gathered in front of the Sule Pagoda on Thursday and called on the government to amend an education law they say restricts academic freedom.

Minutes after telling the group to disperse, police and thuggish men hired for the crackdown started chasing down protesters, attacking some with batons. A half-dozen people were dragged into waiting trucks and a few journalists were hit by batons.