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The protestors from Moehti Moemi gold mine agreed on Monday to hold formal talks with the Mining Ministry in Mandalay division’s Yamethin town following the arrest of four fellow miners during a march from Rangoon to Naypyidaw.
“We agree to hold talks in any place – whether in Yamethin or Naypyidaw with the presence of parliamentary representatives and lawyers who can ensure that the rule of law [is upheld] for both sides and to hold talks until we reach a settlement,” said protestor Hlaing Myo Aung.
He said the protesters also called for the release of four of their colleagues who were arrested while marching from Rangoon to Naypyidaw last Friday and the officials from the Mining Ministry agreed to raise the issue with senior officials.
The four miners have been charged for instigating public unrest.
Ye Yint Htun, Naing Win, Nay Aung Htet and Saw Naung were reportedly beaten and arrested by police in a small town just 20 miles from Naypyidaw. They are now being held at Taungoo prison and face charges under article 505(b) of the penal code, which could land them in prison for up to nine years for instigating riots.
Myint Than, father of Nay Aung Htet, said the four were being charged by the director of Yedashe township’s administration.
“They are due for a court hearing on November 30,” said Myint Than.
Employees from the Moehti Moemi gold mine have been staging protests throughout the summer after the Mining Ministry ordered them to close down their mines.
The move followed a government decision that awarded a large tender to the Myanmar National Prosperity Public Company Limited (NPPCL), which effectively allows the company to operate in the areas previously occupied by smaller mining operations.
The miners from Mandalay division decided to march to Naypyidaw after a protest earlier this month in front of the NPPCL’s headquarters in Rangoon failed to yield any results.
Copper Miners hit with charges
Five activists who led a protest in downtown Rangoon yesterday calling for the termination of the Latpadaung Copper Mining project in Sagain Division’s Monywa have been charged by municipal officials for demonstrating without receiving official permission in advance, according to All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU).
The ABFSU’s deputy-chairman Lin Htet Naing said the five were identified as ABFSU information coordinator Thiha Win Tin, former political prisoner Naw Ohn Hla, Thiha Lwin, Ye Lin and Han Win Aung.