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Anti-mine activists arrested in Burma

Latpadaung protesters arrested by police after a confrontation on 13 August 2013
Latpadaung protesters arrested by police after a confrontation on 13 August 2013

Ko Toe Gyi / Mizzima

The local police station reported that ten protesters have been arrested after about 150 people protested on August 13, 2013, demanding the termination of the Latpadaung copper mine project in Monywa.

"We have arrested ten activists, including Daw Naw Ohn Hla", confirmed a police officer.

Monks and civilians protested at the Latpadaung copper mine area demanding the government, ". . . to take up action against the policemen who persecuted citizens."

Daw Naw Ohn Hla, who led the protest, had submitted an application to the authorities requesting permission to hold a demonstration. However, the Township administrative police Major U Kyu Inn told Mizzima that they could not grant the permission, as "amending the Constitution" was one of the protester's demands.

U Kyu Inn explained that "amending the Constitution" is not in the hands of Monywa authorities. He also said that the protest was not approved because the applicants have not specifically stated the names of policemen who allegedly persecuted civilians. Therefore, it can be inferred that the protesters are accusing the whole police force and it will lead to loss of the dignity of the entire police force.

"We received information that Daw Naw Ohn Hla planned to protest individually. At around 12 p.m. people from local villages formed a small group; they were joined by other groups of protesters from Monywa. Daw Naw Ohn Hla arrived after 2 p.m. Subsequently, the situation got worse and the roads were blocked. We had to step in and control the situation", said U Kyu Inn.

There was a confrontation between activists and the police at the corner of Bogyoke street and No(3) circular road in Monywa.

The police arrested ten protesters after the confrontation and detained them at No.1 police station in Monywa.

A resident from Monywa said explaining the situation, "The police station where the protesters are detained has been shut down. They have enclosed a Monastery in front of the compound with barbed wire and put up barricades too."

The Latpadaung residents continued their protest in front of the police station even after the police arrested the protesters. According to the latest report, the arrested protesters have been released on bail.

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