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Hundreds protest against Myanmar copper mine
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Thursday, 22 Nov 2012
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AFP reported that hundreds of Myanmar villagers, students and monks have joined protests at a Chinese co owned copper mine which they allege has forced people off their land and polluted the area.

Activists said that in a protest unthinkable just last year when junta rule was replaced by a quasi civilian government, locals at Monywa in the northern district of Sagaing set up camps near the mine. It is the second major protest at the mine following rallies over the summer which saw demonstrators arrested.

Mr Aung Hmine San senior member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions said that "About 1,000 people including monks protested near the Chinese project yesterday. About 400 people including monks are now protesting nearby the project site. We didn't ask for any permission to protest as the local authorities didn't allow us in the past. The monks are also protesting together with villagers here."

Protesters demand the company stops work until it releases environmental and social impact studies. During a September protest activists said some 8,000 acres of land had been confiscated from local farmers without consultation and in some cases without compensation.

The copper mine, a JV between military owned Myanmar Economic Holdings and China's Wanbao company has been the subject of controversy for months after local media allegations of corruption over the project.

President Thein Sein's reformist government earlier this year approved a bill allowing authorised peaceful protests. Demonstrators must seek permission 5 days in advance. Last year the Myanmar leader ordered the suspension of a Chinese backed mega dam in response to a wave of public anger.

Source - AFP

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