Demonstration over crackdown on protestors of copper mine project held at Burmese consulate in New York

Dhaka: Burmese democratic forces have held a demonstration at the Burmese consulate in New York on Saturday decrying the recent violent crackdown on the protestors of the copper mine project at Lat Pan Daung Mountain in Sagaing Division in Burma.

“The government’s violent crackdown using force and inflammable bombs on the peaceful protestors is totally unacceptable. So, we hold this demonstration to show our disaffection with the government”, said U Pinnyazawta, the coordinator of the All Burma Monks Alliance in exiled.

“We call for the government to take actions against those who are responsible for the crackdown and to allow the international organizations to probe if its forces had used chemical weapons during the crackdown”, he added.

Nearly 100, most of them are the Buddhist monks, have sustained burn injuries as the police forces violently cracked down on their sit-in protest camps using unusual firearms on the early morning of November 29.

Ko Nay Tin Myint, a leader of the 88-Generation Students and an organizer of the demonstration, said they have made a four-point demand to the Burmese government.

“What we call for from the government are— (1) The violent crackdown is unacceptable, so we urge the government not to repeat such lawless action in the future, (2) To suspend the project at Lat Pan Daung Mountain while the commission is investigating, (3) to take instant action after the outcome of the investigations by the commission and to abolish the project if it is neither in accordance with the people’s desire nor accepted by the people and (4) to take responsibility for medical treatment for those monks and peoples injured in the crackdown and to apologize them”, said Ko Nay Tin Myint.

U Khine Aung Kyaw, an Arakanese participated in the demonstration, also said, “It shows that the government is practically far away from the democratic reforms. The violent crackdown on the peaceful protestors is not a norm of democracy. So, I participate in this demonstration to condemn the government.”

The copper mine project at Lat Pan Daung Mountain is the joint venture of the army-linked Economic Holdings Company Ltd of Burma and the China’s Wam Paung Company that produces military weapons.

The Chinese ambassador to Burma, Li Junhua, disclosed in the press conference held on 7th of December in his embassy that the Burmese government holds 16.8 % stake, the Burmese Economic Holdings Ltd, 13.8% stake and the Chinese Wam Paung 13.3% respectively in the project.

He said over 6000 acres of farms were confiscated for the project and over US$ 5 million in total was already compensated with a rate of 5 lakh kyat per acre for those farms.

Over 100 Burmese activists living in the USA joined the demonstration outside Burmese consulate in New York and their demonstration was concluded around 2 pm on the day.