Thousands Gather to Mark Copper Mine Crackdown

Protesters gather near the office of the company running the Letpadaung copper mine, near Monywa in Sagaing Division, on Jan. 29, 2013. (Photo: Han Win Aung)

More than 2,000 activists and local residents gathered near the Letpadaung copper mine in Sagaing Division on Tuesday to demand that the authorities take action against those responsible for a violent crackdown on protests in the area two months ago.

“We want to urge the authorities to charge those who are responsible for the brutal repression that happened on Nov. 29, and for the government to stand on the side of its citizen,” said activist Thaw Zin.

Amid heavy security, the protesters marched from the village of Ton to the banks of the Chindwin River holding pictures of Buddhist monks who were severely burned in a pre-dawn raid in late November that aimed to end months of protests against the controversial Chinese-owned mine.

The protesters also carried placards demanding the closure of the mine and condemning a ban on displaced villagers returning to lands that were confiscated from them to make room for the project. They also insisted that a lawsuit against anti-mine protesters be dropped immediately.

“We will protest until the mine stops completely,” said one activist who asked not to be named. He added, however, that the protesters would wait until an investigation commission led by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has completed an inquiry into the mine and the November incident before taking further measures.

Meanwhile, in Rangoon activists offered food to injured monks currently receiving treatment at Rangoon General Hospital. Afterwards, the monks held a press conference to describe their experience of the crackdown.

Nearly 100 people, including monks and local activists, were injured when riot police reportedly used tear gas, water cannons and incendiary devices in a bid to close a protest camp located outside of the copper mining company, a joint venture of China’s Wan Bao Company and the military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited.

Two Buddhist monks with severe burn injuries are currently receiving medical treatment at a private hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, while 10 other monks were hospitalized at Rangoon General Hospital’s burn unit.


4 Responses to Thousands Gather to Mark Copper Mine Crackdown

  1. George Than Setkyar Heine

    “We want to urge the authorities to charge those who are responsible for the brutal repression that happened on Nov. 29, and for the government to stand on the side of its citizen,” said activist Thaw Zin.
    Firstly, Thaw Zin’s demand for JUSTICE is RIGHT and in line with the LAW if there is any for that matter in Burma of course. And the GOVERNMENT to STAND on the SIDE of the PEOPLE as well is COMMON and NON-NEGOTIABLE as well in ALL DEMOCRATIC and LAW ABIDING COUNTRIES I say.
    “We will protest until the mine stops completely,” said one activist who asked not to be named. He added, however, that the protesters would wait until an investigation commission led by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has completed an inquiry into the mine and the November incident before taking further measures.
    The PRIMARY OBJECTIVE of this SAGA since day one was to “STOP the MINE PROJECT” altogether as the project itself SERVES NONE for the PEOPLE of Burma other than China’s Wan Bao Company and the military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited.
    The people lost their lands and livelihoods while the Chinese and the Burmese military PROFIT OUT OF THE VENTURE as obviously.
    In addition, the DESTRUCTION on the LAND, LIVELIHOODS of the PEOPLE and ENVIRONMENT as well DOES NOT AUGUR WELL for the PEOPLE who have called the area their ANCESTRAL HOME since time immemorable not to mention the Buddhist monastery and monastic lands about to be BULL-DOZED into OBLIVION and HISTORY in this process/bid to FATTEN the WALLETS of the Chinese and the military generals at the EXPENSE of the PEOPLE concerned most UNFAIRLY as well.
    In addition NEGATIVE IMPACTS on the LANDSCAPE, ECOLOGY and ENVIRONMENT as well on both the short and long runs are simply UNACCEPTABLE at the least of course.
    In this view and sight Daw Suu led INVESTIGATION into this HEINOUS CASE should be BASED specifically on SATISFYING the DEMANDS/DESIRES OF THE PEOPLE and in CONFORMITY with the LAW as well: TAKE ACTION (seek justice) ON THOSE PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT VIOLENT CRACKDOWN ON PROTESTING BUDDHIST MONKS and PEOPLE on the early morning of November 29, 2012 and SHUT DOWN the OPERATION of the JOINT VENTURE serving the interests of the Chinese communists and the military generals only in the first place.
    Failing to HEED the CALLS/DEMANDS/DESIRES of the PEOPLE would ONLY CULMINATE in MORE UNREST, INJUSTICE and hence IMPACT NEGATIVELY on the IMAGE and already DIMINISHING LUSTER/LUSTRE of Burma’s national and chosen leader, presently RISKING HER NECK as the FALL GUY/SCAPEGOAT as well, in this UNFAIR and INHUMANE ACT of VIOLENCE on PEACEFUL, SLEEPING BUDDHIST MONKS and PEOPLE authored/ordered by that UNRULY MOB running AMOK at Naypyidaw today.

  2. While many countries pardon Burma from her billions of dollars debt, China keeps sucking Burmese blood. So, the Burmese people must not stay silent until the Paukphaw pigskin lovers go back to China.

    • Do you know when someone pardon your debt there’s always a catch. Why don’t you guys just work hard instead of asking for handouts. Blaming China for all your problems is just a cop out.

  3. Sadly the Lady of rule of law and tranquility (sic) has blindfolded herself in the face of injustice and war crimes all over the land. The immunity conferred to the generals enshrined in the Nargis constitution appears to be loosely interpreted even by her to cover past, present and future crimes. Rule of gun as we’ve seen in comments before.

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