Riot police move in to end Myanmar copper mine protest
YANGON (REUTERS) – Riot police fired water cannon and tear gas on Thursday to break up a three-month protest against a vast copper mining project run by the powerful Myanmar military and its partner, a subsidiary of a Chinese arms manufacturer.
Activists said at least 50 people had been injured and 23 were in hospital, some suffering burns after incendiary devices were hurled into their camps by police. Media described the devices as “phosphorous bombs”.
Witnesses said truckloads of police arrived at six camps near the mine in the Sagaing region in Myanmar’s north-west, where thousands have demonstrated against a US$1 billion (S$1.23 billion) expansion of the project and what they call the unlawful confiscation of more than 3,160ha of land.
Security forces began using water cannon and other weapons from about 3 am local time, Shin Oattama, a Buddhist monk who had helped the villagers, told Reuters by telephone. “They shot some sort of canisters that caused fire at the camp,” he said.