04/26/2013, 00.00
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Monywa, new clashes between police and farmers: 10 injured

Protests resume in the agricultural area bought by a Chinese company, which wants to clear it to make room for a copper mine. In November protests white phosphorus was used against demonstrators.

Yangon (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Early morning clashes between farmers and police in the area of Monywa have resulted wounded 10, including 7 policemen and 3 civilians. The demonstrations started yesterday and are against the owners of a local copper mine - acquired by a Chinese company and the Myanmar Economic Holdings, an industry in the hands of the Burmese military - which has expropriated agricultural land by force.

The tension in the area rose yesterday when about 100 farmers tried to sow the lands owned by the mine and were stopped by security forces. According to local sources, more than 400 police arrived in the area to prevent the inhabitants of 26 "rebel" villages from resuming agricultural activities. The three injured protesters are in the hospital, one of them was hit by a bullet in the leg.

The protests began last November, when the government forced local residents from about 3 thousand hectares of agricultural land near the mine. The compensation paid by the Chinese owners was considered inadequate by many villages, which started a sit-in protest that were were cleared by the use of force. Even white phosphorus was used - "unconventional" weapon prohibited by the UN - to "liberate" the area.

The opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has conducted an investigation on the matter and asked the farmers to "accept the compensation for their land." Her report to Parliament on the November violence - presented last month - talks about the use of phosphorus against demonstrators by the police and a "violence unseen since the days of the military regime."

However, it also demands that the mining site "continue production " and does not propose any punishment for the policemen involved in the violence. The Nobel Peace Laureate, a prominent political figure usually venerated throughout the country, was strongly criticized by the farmers, angered by her recommendations not to interrupt the work of the copper mine.



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