Michaungkan villagers restart sit-in protest

Michaungkan villagers restart sit-in protest

More than 100 residents of Michaungkan in the eastern suburbs of Rangoon have restored their rally camp, this time at Maha Bandula Park in the city’s downtown area.

The land rights protestors restarted their sit-in at the park near Sule Pagoda on Sunday after previously suspending their action in December ahead of the Southeast Asian Games.

The villagers are demonstrating against a 1990 land confiscation by the Burmese military. They agreed to suspend the sit-in for a period of three months following negotiations with the parliamentary Farmland Investigation Commission in December.

Leading campaigner Sein Than said they had resurrected the rally site because government authorities had failed to keep their promise.

“We don’t know who we should trust,” he said. “We welcome an investigation commission. If we are wrong, we will withdraw from the camp. If an investigation commission concludes that we are right and that we have suffered from a land seizure, then the tatmadaw [armed forces] should abandon the land.”

To date, he said, no one in a state of authority has come to the site to negotiate with the Michaungkan protestors.

One of the demonstrators at the Maha Bandula Park sit-in, Kan Kyi, a resident of Michaungkan, said she will 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 protestors said they will demonstrate in front of Parliament if their requests are not fulfilled.

The Michaungkan villagers claim they have all the legal documents to prove their original ownership of the land.

The rally camp in December came under attack by a mob of men wearing black vests with military insignia – an attack that left several of the villagers injured.

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