Police say they have detained more than a dozen factory workers, who were demanding higher wages and better working conditions, in a protest that follows a crackdown on students outside Myanmar's biggest city.

The detentions came when about 100 workers tried to march from their factories into the country's old capital late Wednesday but were blocked by police. After some workers staged a sit-in, police dragged them away.

The protest in two industrial zones near Yangon came as police in an area 140 kilometers (90 miles) from Yangon were faced off with hundreds of students demanding education reforms.

Since the country started moving from a half-century of dictatorship to democracy just four years ago, the government has found itself grappling with the consequences of newfound freedoms of expression.