Monywa, Burma: Copper Mine Protesters Burned Out in Police Raid
I'm linking this to provide some background to the recent events in Myanmar/Burma. It's a recent oppressive incident that happened in Burma that doesn't appear connected to anything having to do with the Rohingya, or any of Burma's other ethnic conflicts. To get a sense of the location click here.
RANGOON--Protesters demanding a complete shutdown of a Chinese-backed copper mining project near Monywa in Upper Burma were forcefully dispersed by police using tear gas and water cannons early on Thursday morning in a raid which led to dozens of people being badly burned.
In the most violent government response to civil disobedience since tentative democratic reforms were introduced last year, riot police descended on six protest camps at around 2:30 am with a raft of aggressive measures that reportedly left large areas ablaze.
I'm trying to remember other incidents that involved use of "tear gas" that wind up having incendiary effects.
"At 2:30 am, the main gate of Wanbao suddenly swung open and police charged in. Ten monks at our camp stood up to protect the rest of the protesters but the monks were knocked down by water jets. Then the fire bombs came in. They set our motorcycles on fire. We had to run for our lives," said Aye Net, one of the protest leaders.
"Monks dragged me away. Otherwise, I would have been killed or arrested," she added.
"We have 10 injured protesters, including monks," said Thaw Zin, an anti-copper mine activist at another camp, adding that 15 people from his area are still missing and were likely arrested.
To summarize, they're not sure how many were injured or how badly, how many were arrested, etc. The attack happened on the eve of Aung San Suu Kyi's visit to the area. One notable statement:
"When the raid started, we didn't believe that [the police] would use that kind of violence as we are no longer under military dictatorship. We were shocked," said Thaw Zin. "We weren't disturbing law and order. We were unarmed people who were just asking for our rights."
There's also a heavy security cordon around the major hospital in the area.
They save the initial cause of the protests for the end of the piece.
The mining project, a joint-venture between the military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd and China's Wan Bao Company, has come under fire since August after more than 300 residents from 12 villages in the Letpadaung mountain range staged protests to demand its closure, citing environmental destruction, forced relocations and illegal land confiscation.
More than 7,800 acres of land from 26 villages under the shadow of the mountain range have been seized to make way for the project that began last year. Since mid-November, protesters have been disrupting workers by linking arms to block the path of trucks at the construction site, and erecting camps nearby.
"I feel very sad. I never thought they would respond to us like that. We are the Burmese and [the police] are Burmese too," added Aye Net. "But on witnessing that they are protecting Chinese interests by using force on their fellow Burmese, it has caused me a great deal of heartache."
I think this illustrates a really bad situation the modern deindustrialization of the United States has put us in. We can buy from and support the people who committed this or we can forego any modern consumer electronics and much modern industrial equipment.
Posted by: Thing From Snowy Mountain 2012-11-30