Burmese Police Break Up Copper Mine Protest
Police in Burma have used water cannon to break up a protest against the expansion of a copper mine near the central town of Monywa, activists say.
Protesters said dozens of people were injured and their camps set on fire.
Local farmers, monks and activists have been protesting against what they say are forced evictions to allow for the mine to be enlarged.
The mine, Burma’s largest, is jointly owned by the Burmese military and Chinese arms manufacturer Norinco.
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi had been expected to visit the protest site on Thursday to hear the protesters’ grievances.
Laws on public protests in Burma have been relaxed amid a series of democratic reforms.
But this week the government gave the protesters an ultimatum to leave the site.
Activists said police had arrived at the camp in the early hours of Thursday, as they were sleeping.
The BBC’s Jonathan Head, who recently visited the mine, says this is now being seen as a test case for how Burma’s new government will handle growing protests around the country over land grabs that took place under military rule.
The farmers started their protest in June, saying they were forced to accept a deal two years ago under which they gave up their land in return for new housing and financial compensation.
Original News – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20536992