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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
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.

AppleAndroid