Rangoon City Hall protestors forcibly evicted

Rangoon City Hall protestors forcibly evicted

A rally site outside Rangoon City Hall, which has been occupied for nearly nine months by land grab protestors from Michaungkan, was forcibly dispersed by police in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Fourteen protestors were detained in the fracas, though no injuries or serious resistance was reported.

The fourteen were released on bail on Tuesday afternoon.

Ba Myint, an activist assisting the protestors, said around 30 police were involved in the operation.

“The rally camp at the gates of City Hall has been taken down – the police detained 14 protestors and took them to Dagon Township police station,” he said.

“We have learnt that they will be taken to Western Rangoon District court to face charges.”

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Some 80 to 100 residents from Michaungkan in Rangoon’s eastern Thingangyun Township had been holding a vigil in front of City Hall since March, demanding the return of farmland they say was seized from them by the Burmese military in 1990.

Last week, after marking 270 days of the sit-in, the villagers moved their camp site to the gates of City Hall in a bid to step up their protest.

Prior to this, local police had set a deadline of 3 October for the protestors to dismantle their camp 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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