Tensions rise at Latpadaung

Once again tensions have peaked at the Latpadaung mining project after officials began fencing off farmland that falls within the project zone.

Locals have been refusing compensation for land that was taken from them by the mining company. They say they want their land back.

Many protesters were visibly distressed to see fences being built around their farm plots.

Farmer Yin Mar said she lost over three acres of her land, which was used for growing sesame.

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A strong police presence guarded those who were building the fence, while authorities bulldozed some of the plots.

Police say they were there to uphold a curfew that had been put in place.

“We are here to guard the area with a curfew in place under article-144, in accordance with the law,” said Police Lt-Col. Tin Htun.

“We came here to prevent locals from entering the restricted area. We don’t want any confrontation with the people.”

On Friday 150 people protested at the Latpadaung site as copper mining activities resumed.

Explosions, signaling the resumption of the Chinese-backed project, angered locals.

They say the recommendations put forward by the investigation commission, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, to look into mining operations, were not being implemented.

The chances of these protesters getting their land back are slim – but it seems, they won’t give in just yet.

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