Michaungkan protestors forcibly dispersed from Maha Bandula Park

A protest camp made up of over 100 residents from the eastern Rangoon suburb of Michaungkan has been dispersed from their sit-in location at Maha Bandula Park near Sule Pagoda in downtown Rangoon.

Last week the villagers resumed their protest against a 1990 land confiscation by the Burmese military, which they had agreed to suspend for a period of three months following negotiations with the parliamentary Farmland Investigation Commission in December.

Those negotiations failed, and the group renewed their demonstration on 23 March.

However this most recent incarnation of the 24-year-old demonstration was to be short lived, as municipal officials and dozens of men in plain clothes forced the group from the park in the early morning hours of 30 March.

The protesters, evicted from their homes in the Rangoon suburban township in the midst of a land grab by the Burmese military in 1990, have periodically descended on Rangoon City Hall in attempts to pressure government officials to weigh in on their dispute with the military.

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Last week, a member of the group staging the Maha Bandula Park sit-in, Kan Kyi, a resident of Michaungkan, told DVB that she would continue the fight to get back the land which belonged to her grandparents.

“I will fight for my land until the day I die,” she told DVB.

The dispersal of demonstrators followed a breakdown in negotiations between the group and municipal officials who had attempted to cajole them into disbanding the sit-in.

They were forcibly removed at around 3.30am on Sunday.

No resistance or confrontation was reported in the crackdown, but the Michaungkan villagers have vowed to continue protesting until their losses are compensated.

This is not the first violent attack on the Michaungkan group. In December last year, the protestors were attacked by a group of men dressed in black waistcoats with military ID cards pinned to their shirts, claiming to be “cleaning workers from the army”. At least eight people were injured in that incident, including elderly women.

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