Myanmar protesters defy orders to end copper mine rally
MONYWA, Myanmar (AP) - Hundreds of Buddhist monks and villagers occupying a copper mine in northwestern Myanmar defied a government order to leave by Wednesday, saying they will stay until the project is halted.
The protesters, who have set up six camps at the site, say the Letpadaung mine near the town of Monywa is causing environmental, social and health problems. The protest is the latest example of increased activism by citizens since an elected government took over last year following almost five decades of repressive military rule.
State television broadcast an announcement on Tuesday night that ordered protesters to cease their occupation of the mine by midnight or face legal action. The mine is a joint venture between a Chinese firm and a company controlled by Myanmar's military.
"We strongly condemn last night's order from the Home Ministry," said Thwe Thwe Win, one of the protest leaders. "We will not stop our protest until our demands are met."