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Monywa copper mine protesters lack supplies

Steel News - Published on Sun, 25 Nov 2012

The 200 protesters who continue to sit in at Ledi camp on Latpadaung Mountain in Sagaing Division are suffering from a lack of food, water and medicine.

Mr Aung Soe Civic society group leader said that “I am one of those living in the Ledi Sayadaw Buddhist temple. We badly need food, drinking water and medicines. Up here on the mountain, it is very cold at night. Many protesters have caught colds and coughs. The change in the weather may also bring on bouts of flu.”

Comprising local farmers, Buddhist monks, students, NGO activists and local residents the protest group has launched a sit in since June to protest plans to build a series of copper mine through the mountain and the local landscape by two mining companies, Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited and China’s Wanbao Company.

Environmental groups said that the copper mine and its residue waste poses grave hazards to the local residents and the ecosystem. The protest organizers this week urged the authorities to let them carry food to the hilltop site by car and truck. Currently only motorbikes are permitted to ascend the mountain with supplies.

Mr Aung Soe said that the authorities were trying to create such unpleasant conditions that the protesters will move their camp elsewhere and vacate Latpadaung Mountain. Several times, the local authorities have come and ordered us to move to the foot of the mountain. But we will never move. We will sacrifice our lives if necessary.

He said that from this camp on top of the mountain, we can travel quickly to any of the 33 projects sites if work begins. If we set up camp at the foot of the mountain, they will not care what we say. They will start work on the mountain by blasting.

Mr Aung Soe said that they have been petitioning the company to suspend the project until late March 2013. The protesters are hoping that the matter will be discussed in Parliament. However, recent reports indicate China is growing wary of the rising rural demonstrations over land confiscation.

Mr Li Junhua Chinese Ambassador to Burma said that Beijing would stop backing the Monywa copper mine if the project did not benefit Burma, according to a Radio Free Asia report in October. If this project brings no benefit to the Myanmar people, the Chinese government will not support or endorse it. Because it not only concerns the image of the Chinese company but also the image of China and the Chinese government.

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Posted By : admin on Sun, 25 Nov 2012
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