Hundreds Resume Letpadaung Mine Protest

Protesters march against the Letpadaung copper mine in August 2012. (Photo: Open Society Monywa)

Protesters march against the Letpadaung copper mine in August 2012. (Photo: Open Society Monywa)

More than 300 farmers in northern Burma’s Sagaing Division have resumed their protests against a controversial Chinese-backed copper mine, saying they will refuse compensation and continue to push for the mine’s complete closure.

“No matter how much compensation they give, we won’t accept it, because all we want is for the mine to be shut down completely,” said one of the farmers from the Letpadaung area near Monywa.

The protesters are also demanding that the government take action against those responsible for a Nov. 29, 2012, crackdown that left around 100 protesters injured, some of them severely. They say they also want an emergency order banning protests lifted.

The farmers say that the mine, jointly owned by the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd, a Burmese military-owned conglomeration, and Wanbao, a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned arms manufacturer Norinco, has been dumping waste on land owned by farmers who have refused compensation.

Some of the farmers said that they have attempted to obstruct the efforts of mine employees to take over their land. “When we attempted to halt their work, they called the police to drive us back. Later some farmers used big stone slabs to fence in their confiscated lands to prevent the bulldozers,” said one farmer.

“They are even trying to get us to give up our lands forever, using some of the former protest leaders to convince us. They say we will get electricity and water. But we won’t accept it. We just want to stop the mining for the sake of our future generations,” said another.

The protests against the mine began last year, and attracted support from activists around the country. However, farmers in the affected area have been divided over whether to continue their protests since a government-formed commission led by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi released a report earlier this month saying the project should go ahead.

Those still pushing for the mine’s closure say they will not give up.

“The reason we don’t accept the result of the commission is because it doesn’t assure our future, our land and our environment, and makes no commitment to bringing the culprit behind the crackdown to justice. We will continue to protest—with permission from the authorities—until the mining stops,” said one protester.


14 Responses to Hundreds Resume Letpadaung Mine Protest

  1. DASSK should resign from this commission for this investigation and ask min aung laing to act the chairman for this commission because DASSK has no military power. In that case, ming aung laing will be in trouble with the people power who is asking their right for future security. U pai, than shwe and his cronies should go out to discuss to guarantee those local people living and earning. It is not the matter of Chinese side who claims that Chinese is the the smallest share-holder in this business and doing business according to than shwe’s bama rule of law.
    The same is happened in Kachin( hydropower plants, jades, in Kachin lands) and others of all ethnics areas so all ethnics are holding their small guns to fight for their right and future with brave hearts. DASSK should not act those issues in the double standard. If DASSK speaks out her opinion upon the panglong agreement in right track ethically, she can save the country before it is too late. Than shwe wants to make rubbish and messes ( small eruptions ) in Burma before he kills the democratic politicians he does not want to exit. Than shwe is creating anti-China, anti-Rohyingya, anti-Muslim, anti-Kachin, anti-all ethnics and mining issues-down grading DASSK popularity to show that his private army (thugs ) is powerful for bullying people of Burma. Min aung laing should resign for those unrest and DASSK should be chief of staff in military of Burma. If people of Burma wants fairness for future security, ask ming aung laing to resign for DASSK control.

    • Fat chance. ASSK dropped Panglong like a hot potato. This commission she was happy to chair and look where she got us. Carry on being squashed under the jackboot of Oobaing and Norinco. Show our gratitude to be exploited or ‘rule of law’ will come down on us like a ton of bricks. Funny way of playing the people’s champion, Amay Suu.

  2. George Than Setkyar Heine

    “No matter how much compensation they give, we won’t accept it, because all we want is for the mine to be shut down completely,” said one of the farmers from the Letpadaung area near Monywa.
    That’s the STUFF WHAT MADE BURMA in the first place man, trust me.
    Of course the farmers are NO SUCKERS for the Chinese as well I bet.
    The Chinese should KNOW by NOW the FACT: MONEY DOES NOT BUY/MAKE EVERYTHING specifically in Burma of course.
    They want the COMPLETE SHUT DOWN of the Chinese run mine in order to GET BACK their LANDS and LIVELIHOODS, ENVIRONMENT and LANDSCAPE as well for their FUTURE and GENERATIONS as well.
    “The protesters are also demanding that the government take action against those responsible for a Nov. 29, 2012, crackdown that left around 100 protesters injured, some of them severely. They say they also want an emergency order banning protests lifted”.
    The PEOPLE WANT JUSTICE man!
    The RULE of LAW is WHAT BURMA NEEDS at the moment and for the future as well.
    Remember Shwe Mann has said on several occasions: NOBODY IS ABOVE the LAW!
    WHO ORDERED the PHOSPHORUS BOMB ATTACK on the Buddhist monks and people on the early dawn of November 29, 2013?
    Suu Kyi said SMOKE BOMBS were USED on the protesters despite the fact the incendiary devices were actually PHOSPHORUS BOMBS BANNED by INTERNATIONAL LAW as well.
    And she FAILED to NAIL the CULPRIT for that MATTER as well man!
    Of course RIGHT to RALLY is the ORDER of the DAY in a STATE vowing to IMPLEMENT DEMOCRATIC REFORMS lest Thein Sein forgets man.
    “They are even trying to get us to give up our lands forever, using some of the former protest leaders to convince us. They say we will get electricity and water. But we won’t accept it. We just want to stop the mining for the sake of our future generations,” said another.
    See, the farmers are SMART and NO SUCKERS for the Chinese least of all!
    Their FUTURE and GENERATIONS COUNT MORE THAN the ELECTRICITY, MONEY and WATER from the Chinese of course.
    “The reason we don’t accept the result of the commission is because it doesn’t assure our future, our land and our environment, and makes no commitment to bringing the culprit behind the crackdown to justice. We will continue to protest—with permission from the authorities—until the mining stops,” said one protester.
    THAT’S FAIR ENOUGH man!
    The commission REPORT has NOTHING of SUBSTANCE for the farmers/people in that part of the country as OBVIOUSLY as well.
    Hence, Suu Kyi’s long held and trusted CREDIBILITY and INTEGRITY NOSE DIVED as well for that matter I bet.
    The BOTTOM LINE at the moment is whether Thein Sein is REALLY SINCERE/HONEST in his DEED and WORD saying he is a REFORMIST and has a HEART for the PEOPLE of BURMA today.
    Or SIMPLY a PUPPET of Than Shwe’s whom the Chinese STUFFED 30 BILLION YUAN in his pocket while on his last visit to Beijing with his family in tow in 2009 for the GREEN LIGHT for the Chinese communists to MONOPOLIZE the ECONOMY of BURMA in addition to the RIGHT to INFLUX/INVADE the Burmese heartland with ethnic CHINESE making the NATIVE WOMEN of BURMA their CONCUBINES and BUYING the country’s CITIZENSHIP CARDS and PRIME LANDS at will as well at the same time.
    The CHOICE is Thein Sein’s of course man!

    • Bravo – ‘That’s the STUFF WHAT MADE BURMA in the first place man, trust me’ — keep on the STUFF forever and don’t sell to anyone.

    • It is very lucky for thein sein , than shwes’ puppet to have a second chance from George TSH. Why does not DASSK or ming ko naing or U win tin to have a chance. Because thein sein might have military power.

  3. If those mining dump their waste products in to river or land or any places that could effect the whole nation’s health…And farmers are distributing those food to around the country..
    If you pay attention, there are increasing numbers of cancer victims in Myanmar including those top level military people.

  4. Now we’re learning another reason why Burma remains one of the poorest countries in the world.

    • Expropriation and exploitation without a care in the world.

    • Burma is poor (just in monetary terms, and please give those UN reports, WB reports and ADB reports due respect which is nothing) not n]because she does not sell every thing a buyer wants for fire sale price like a widow selling out the “Ein-daing”. And she (Mother Burma) will NEVER get rich (funny word) by selling out herself.

      It is the most costly and virulent S-t-tut as the ginormous cancer sucking out the life-blood of the people while disrupting the productive labor and land.

      Unless people become their OWN masters, and learn to live peacefully with their own labor where the plentiful land will sure come to aid, there will be NOTHING good at all for the majority.

  5. Tay Za got 50 million bucks bribe money from the Chinese fro brokering the deal between Ivanhoe and the Chinese companies Wanbao, Norinco.
    Irrawaddy reported on that quite
    http://www2.irrawaddy.com/article.php?art_id=23270&page=2
    and as everyone knows Tay Za is funding Suu Kyi and her party. Burma is a land of smoke and mirrors or better phosphorous smoke and a palace of mirrors and gold for the rich cronies (hman si shwe cha) or perhaps it’s just a theatre of marionettes where the poor has no voice. “Freedom from Fear” indeed!

  6. Until the over enthusiastic rush of Aung Thaung/ Wirathu NAZI gang starting the “Kalar Extermination” killing and burning orgy in Meiktila and other places (where the Bamar public did not really follow the killing/ destruction orgy well organised and orchestrated by Thaung/ Wirathu faction (Taung Thar Tat Ma Daw) of the ruling Sit-tut of which Thein Sein is just a clerk- but that is another story) Latpadaung was the real critical point of relief for the international business communities watching with bated breath.

    While the unfailing support of the business communities’s own pin up girl Aung San Suu Kyi – long cultivated, groomed, carefully stage-managed and polished (around a hundred prizes and degrees of sorts and speeches of high school essay character)- for any destruction, suffering and death that may result can be counted in for sure and same with the once dissident “Media”, there has always been uncertainty of how the vocal section of the Burmese populace (the internet-ted crowd) would react -as in that shameful Arakan Affair.

    Now they have enthusiastically endorsed the rape and pillage of the land and any force used to get there to rid their own people and generations to follow off their ancestral land, livelihood and place of living like dirt, or flea. This act of “Tha-kho da yo kun” (vide infra***) is, at least temporarily, so encouraging for the intense future plans for further rape and pillage and land confiscations and destruction to follow in earnest and by unison from all around the world.

    This enthusiastic support of the internet-ted people for cannibalism is so crucial as no amount of coercion, cruelty and deception of the people by Ne Win, Khin Nyunt, Than Shwe, Thein Sein, Aung San Suu Kyi, 88’s, the once dissident “media”, etc can in fact destroy a nation but only cannibalism can as seen in the Hin-tha Koe Thaung Story (vide infra ###).

    Now cannibalism is confirmed as also seen in Mann Nyein Maung and Co. in Karen Land (no doubt there will be some with such thought in Kachin groups as well), the future of the most wonderful and joyous “International Investment:” here is the most secure of anywhere in the world.

    ***Tha-kho da yo kun (giving the handle part of sword to the thief) A man, in the midst of wrestling with the intruder asked for the sword. The wife, smitten by the thief, gave the sword in such a way that the thief got the upper hand and soon the life of the husband. Thief, evil but not dumb, discarded the woman like dirt as well of course.

    In the current day Burma, such Tha-kho da yo kun is indeed popularized and enthusiastically practiced by Aung San Suu Kyi/ Sit-tut/ ex-dissidents, etc with huge army of followers for various reasons.

    ###Hin-tha koe thaung (90000 mythical birds- Hin-tha) 90000 birds lived in a cave happily for long. An evil spider one day closed off the cave but it daren’t go in as the birds might be united to attack it. But mere closure caused famine and the previously well united and contented Hin-tha started to fight among each other and in fact started to eat each other. After that, the spider’s job was a child’s play landing it the necessity of consultation with an obesity expert.

    Now the cannibalism of the people of Burma by some-small but most vocal segment of the population on another segment by calling for the banishment (quietly if you would please our Chinese have robbing and looting to do and the others are watching) of the whole segment of society of their own numbers (and their untold descendants), future banishment (quietly please) and loot of the land will most certainly be a WALK IN. (Bono please write another song with this new name as your idol has now been shown to be a traitor.)

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