News / Asia

Burma Mine Protesters Attacked Ahead of Suu Kyi Visit

Buddhist monks who suffered burn injuries when security forces cracked down on protesters are treated at a hospital in Monywa town shop, northwestern Burma, Nov. 29, 2012. Security forces used water cannons and other devices to break up the rally hours before opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was expected. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Buddhist monks who suffered burn injuries when security forces cracked down on protesters are treated at a hospital in Monywa town shop, northwestern Burma, Nov. 29, 2012. Security forces used water cannons and other devices to break up the rally hours before opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was expected. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
VOA News
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi visited Letpadaung mountain in upper Burma today to talk to villagers where a Chinese copper mine has caused a land rights dispute between farmers and the Burmese government. The government attacked protesters at the proposed area of expansion of the mine, leaving several monks injured.

Riot police early Thursday moved in to disperse protesters at three camps at the Letpadaung copper mines, near Mandalay in upper Burma. Injured monks and villagers who retreated to a nearby monastery the following morning were seen with singed robes and skin. But the president's office issued a statement denying it used chemical weapons.

A witness on the scene, says at least 23 monks were injured, one critically. Ten are missing and six were arrested.

"Security forces raided the camp," reported the witness. "A lot of Buddhist monks they throw first with the water cannon and then they throw with the smoke bomb. So they burned down the whole camp, six camps, and so the Buddhist monks and other local activists, they dispersed."

Aung San Suu Kyi, a member of the parliament's rule of law committee, had planned a visit to the mine after parliament passed a motion to investigate the impact of the mines on villagers. Her spokesperson, Ohn Kyaing, says she plans to meet with protest organizers as well.

"They suffered economically and socially and other environmental disasters for that project so our leader would like to see the depth of that impact and she wants to hear from the villagers the real situation from the villagers and then she will, she is the chairman of the rule of law and peace committee of parliament she will make some recommendations to the committee what to do," said Ohn Kyaing.

Myint Twin is a lawyer who has been working with the villagers in Monywa to navigate their demands through the courts. He says every member of parliament should know the difficulties of the civilians, so they can bring this case to parliament where there is hope to seek some sort of satisfying resolution.

In the past, grassroots efforts have successfully stopped Chinese joint venture infrastructure projects such as the Myitsone dam. But Beijing has pressed on with the project, despite protests at its embassy in Rangoon.

In a media briefing this week, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei confirmed the government had no plans to halt the expansion of the mine.

He says the relevant copper mine is a mutually beneficial cooperation project between China and Burma.  The relocation compensation, benefits distribution and environmental protection involved in this project have been jointly decided by the two sides.  He says these decisions are also in compliance with Burma’s laws and regulations. And he hopes that all sectors of Burma will create favorable conditions for the successful operation of the project.

Other protesters connected to the mine protest were arrested earlier in the week, and are awaiting trial.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs