Two more local villagers have been injured at the site of the Latpadaung copper mine as protestors clashed for a second day with riot police who have been protecting mining company workers as they erect fences around disputed land.
Two residents of Sete village, Aung Naing and Htay Win, were shot when local farmers tried to confront staff of the Myanmar Wanbao company at around 7:30 on Tuesday morning. Riot police opened fire with rubber bullets, according to fellow villager Aung Htay Naing.
“The security forces opened fire on us again this morning,” he told DVB by telephone. “Two villagers were hit with rubber bullets. One was hit in the cheekbone and the other in the jaw.
“When we woke up this morning, we saw the riot police and security forces taking up positions in our bean and corn fields,” he continued. “We got together and shouted at them to back off. They fired on us with rubber bullets and we withdrew. Now the villagers are just sitting around depressed, watching them [the Myanmar Wanbao employees] laying a fence on our land.”
Copper mine operators Myanmar Wanbao is a joint venture project involving the Burmese military-backed Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Co. Ltd and Chinese state firm Wanbao.
Tuesday’s violent confrontation follows a similar clash the day before when around 900 police held off about 200 local protestors for several hours. Both sides are reported to have hurled stones at each other with slingshots during the standoff. At about 2:20pm police were ordered to fire on protestors with live ammunition. One woman, Khin Win, was killed when she was shot through the head. Estimates of injuries runs from three or four to 20.
Myanmar Wanbao has since issued a statement, expressing “deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to her [Khuin Win’s] family”.