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80 injured in Monywa crackdown

A Buddhist monk awaits treatment in Monywa after being burned by unknown substances fired by riot police in a crackdown at the Latpadaung copper mine protest site in Sagaing Division on Thursday morning. (PHOTO: Hein Htet/ Mizzima)
In the early hours of Thursday morning in Sagaing, riot police violently cracked down on protesters at the main “sit-in” site in front of the offices of the Wanbao copper mine company, injuring more than 80 people, including many Buddhist monks.

Some 30 monks were taken to Monywa Hospital to receive medical treatment. One of the monks is in critical condition and was transported to a hospital in Mandalay.

“Initially, they [the riot police] directed water cannons at the protesters,” said a Mizzima correspondent who is currently at the site. “Then they started firing at us. We still don’t know what they were using. We heard loud explosions, followed by smoke; then fires broke out. It was blinding.”

With regard to earlier reports that tear gas had been fired at the protesters, the correspondent said, “The injured did not have tears streaming from their eyes. Their eyes were not red. When they rubbed their wounds, large spots appeared, not blisters.”

It has been reported that 10 monks have been declared missing.

The latest report is that the protest camp has been gutted by fire. The compound of Wanbao Company (on the Pathein-Monywa Road) is sealed off with barbed wire, and surrounded by riot police equipped with shields, batons and firearms.

The vast majority of protesters have not left the site.

For more background:
Last Updated ( Friday, 30 November 2012 15:59 )  

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