Gwa: Local residents held a demonstration on Friday near the army battalions in Gwa in southern Arakan State demanding the return of farmlands and coconut plantations they said was forcibly confiscated by the army.
Demonstrators took to the streets on Friday in downtown Gwa carrying placards and signboards that demanded the return of their confiscated farmlands and plantations and rallied at a road junction near the army battalions, a town elder U Aye Maung told Narinjara on Saturday.
“Over 200 people participated in the demonstration. They started their demonstration at 6:30 am from the town gate carrying placards and billboards that demanded the return of confiscated lands. They stopped at the junction of U Oattama Road and concluded their demonstration after holding public talks”, said U Aye Maung.
The demonstrators are said to have rallied at the Junction of U Oattama Street as the Light Infantry Battalions No. 563 and 562 are located near there.
“They held demonstration to make known to the military officers the sufferings of the people whose lands were forcibly confiscated by the army”, said the elder.
He said many acres of farms and plantations along the seashore in Kyauntharyar and Shweayekauk in Gwa Township, which were owned by about 200 local farmers, were forcibly confiscated by the army in 1990.
The farmers are said to have demanded the army return their lands and plantations as the army officers have been renting their lands and plantations for their own profits without constructing any projects that will be useful for the army as well as for the nation until today.
“It is not known yet how the military and local authorities will respond to the demonstration of the farmers. The farmers returned to their homes after the demonstration”, said the elder.
According to the parliamentary commission for investigating confiscated lands, there are over 1,000 acres of farms and coconut plantations the army has forcibly confiscated from the local farmers in Gwa Township.