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Residents continue to protest over Latpadaung project


Residents in the area surrounding the Latpadaung copper mine project held protests on April 5 and 6 as their demands have not been met yet.

Villagers shout slogans as they protest against Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's stand on a Chinese-backed copper mine project, in Monywa northern Myanmar on March 14, 2013. Suu Kyi urged protesters to accept a controversial Chinese-backed mine that was the scene of a violent crackdown last year, or risk hurting the economy. [Photo: AFP]
Villagers shout slogans as they protest against Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's stand on a Chinese-backed copper mine project, in Monywa northern Myanmar on March 14, 2013. Suu Kyi urged protesters to accept a controversial Chinese-backed mine that was the scene of a violent crackdown last year, or risk hurting the economy. [Photo: AFP]
“We have already protested six times for the Latpadaung copper mine project. We are now here again because they still haven’t done anything for us regarding this matter,” said Win Win Htay from Sel Tel Village.

She said that the protests are within the boundary of law and will be continued until the authorities have solved their problems.

The residents said that on April 5 from 1 pm to 4 pm, a group of 500 residents walked from the east part of the Tone Ywar village to Nyaung Pin Gyi port. They protested with slogans saying “completely shut down the Copper mine project”; “ the revocation of section (144)”; “take actions on those explosive bomb offenders”; “say no to Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd"; and, “say no to Wanbao Mining Company which is colonizing Myanmar People”.

“Sel Tel Village, Tone Ywar Thit village, Middle village, Taw Kyaung and Moe Kyoe Pyin Village took part in the protest. The protesters started to walk and demonstrate from Tone Ywar Thit to Nyoung Pin Gyi port. Not more than 500 people were allowed to take part in the protest,” said resident Aung Than Myo.

“We protested and demonstrated within the boundary as Aung San Suu Kyi told us to protest only after applying for permission,” said Ma Aye, another Sel Tel villager.

Tin Myo, another local resident, said that two wagons from Wanbao Mining Co. came into the Moe Kyoe Pyin (Middle) village on April 5 at 10 am and told the residents to gather at the Village Health Office to hear a speech.

However, the Wanbao Mining Co. staff simply told them to accept the compensation and did not say anything about environmental conservation, according to Tin Myo.

The President's Office formed a committee of 15 people to write a final report about Latpadaung copper mine project on March 11.

Government media announced that the committee had begun their field observation on March 15 and began to give out compensation the following day.

According to state-owned media from March 16 to 31, 1,570 million kyats (US$1.8 million) was given to 536 villagers from 20 villages for 1,400 acres of cultivating land taken over or destroyed by the project. The compensation ranged from one million kyat ($1,130) to 1.5 million kyats ($1,704) per acre.

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