Michaungkan protesters light candles in front of Rangoon City Hall

Michaungkan protesters light candles in front of Rangoon City Hall

Villagers from the eastern Rangoon suburb of Michaungkan staged a peaceful candlelit vigil outside Rangoon City Hall on December 12, in protest of the government’s controversial land grabs.

The protestors claim they lost their land under government redevelopment plans and have been occupying a protest camp near Maha Bandoola Park in the city centre for more than 260 days,

Protestors held placards protesting the government, while police in full riot gear were on standby near the City Hall. There has been no official response from the government.

This is the latest in a drawn-out saga in the dispute between the government and Michaungkan villagers over land claims. Hundreds of protestors have been involved in sit-ins, hunger strikes and other demonstrations against the government’s land grabs in the eastern Rangoon suburb in 1990.

Prior to this, local police had set a deadline of 3 October for the protestors to dismantle their camp, which is situated 400 meters from Rangoon City Hall, and leave the site, but this passed without incident and the protestors remained. In March over 100 residents were dispersed from a sit-in at Maha Bandula Park in downtown Rangoon.

Land rights activist Sein Than was sentenced to eight months in prison in August for violating Burma’s Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Act due to his involvement with the Michaungkan protests.

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