News / Asia

Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi Heckled at Mine Protest

Burma pro-democracy Leader Aung San Suu Kyi poses for a photo as villagers protest against an investigation commission's report on a copper mine project in Sarlingyi township, March 14, 2013.
Burma pro-democracy Leader Aung San Suu Kyi poses for a photo as villagers protest against an investigation commission's report on a copper mine project in Sarlingyi township, March 14, 2013.
VOA News
Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi was heckled by protesters at a controversial copper mine project in Burma’s north this week. The rare public display of protest against the Nobel Peace laureate comes after she backed a government report that recommended operations at the mine continue.

Since her release from house arrest more than two years ago, Aung San Suu Kyi’s public events are typically warm receptions from crowds of adoring supporters. But her visit this week to Tone village, where people have been displaced and put out of work by a Chinese-backed copper mine, was different.

As she tried to speak with those protesting, some shouted that they did not want to see her anymore and refused to talk.

Growing

Daw Aye, a widow who farms in the area, says she has lost faith in the opposition leader because she failed to stop the mine.

Aye says many people including monks have sacrificed their lives for the opposition leader before. And Aye says she feels disappointed that everything she once hoped for did not happen. Aye says Aung San Suu Kyi has not turned out to be the person Aye thought she was.

Residents are angry that Aung San Suu Kyi's investigation committee failed to identify a person responsible for the police's use of white phosphorous against protesters in November last year.  The report also recommended that the mine project should move forward despite villagers concerns over its environmental and social impact.

Aung San Suu Kyi defended the decisions to villagers and media gathered at the site Thursday.

"What I want to say is that there must be profits for local investors and so our country is not only for the local people but for the people in the whole country. That's why I agreed to continue the project this way. And that's why I advise this project should continue," she said.

Going mainstream

As Aung San Suu Kyi makes the transition from political prisoner and activist to mainstream politician, she has spoken frequently of compromise as she tries to cooperate with the two-year old civilian government. But some former supporters say she has compromised too much.

Ba Htoo of the People’s Welfare Network traveled from Rangoon to protest outside the headquarters of the Chinese military-backed company operating the mine. He says he sees this as just one of the opposition leader’s failures.

He says that although Aung San Suu Kyi is a public leader, she has not spoken out on the Rakhine or Rohingya issue. She has not put in effort to strive for the ethnic minorities. And in the copper mining project of Letpadaung, he says he has seen her turn her back on the public.

Win Tin, formerly of the central executive committee of Aung San Suu Kyi's political party, has been one of her few vocal critics, but continues to view her as the party’s rightful leader. He says he was not surprised she backed the mine project, because she has been a firm supporter of foreign investment in Burma.

"Some matters you see I cannot stand for her activities. That doesn't mean I'm not following her leadership. She's the only capable leader, she deserves the leadership and she's still in the position of leader for the whole movement," he said.

Those wounded in the November mine protests numbered more than 100 people, many of them Buddhist monks. The government report has recommended better training for police to prevent such incidents in the future, and greater compensation and the return of some farmland to residents.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
March 17, 2013 10:04 AM
“our country is not only for the local people but for the people in the whole country”.
well said! She is a rational woman. If you dont want to dig mines, dont want to build hydro dams dont want to build oil pipe dont want to build highways. Let me ask you how you can get rid of poverty? There will be pollutions, will be lose of land but your country will be industrialised and be richer. Be realistic!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid