(November 25, 2012)
By Aye Nai
Four miners from Moehti Moemi gold mine in central Burma’s Yemathin township, who have been marching to Naypyidaw to protest a government order that closed their mines, were attacked by police and arrested today near Myohla town.
Of the 70 estimated protestors participating in the march, Ye Yint Htun, Naing Win, Nay Zaw Htet and Saw Naung were arrested.
Employees from the Moehti Moemi gold mine have been staging protests throughout the summer after the Ministry of Mining 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.
The protestors stayed in Myohla town for three days before continuing to march this morning when about 100 police officers along with 20 plain-clothed officials wielding sticks attacked them.
“We were marching peacefully but they came using force,” said one protestor who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
“They beat up the four right before us and arrested them,” said Thandar Aung, who was attending the protest. “They beat them up with police batons while they were handcuffed and dragged them off. There were about five or six people doing the beating.”
The assault on the protestors this morning did not appear to deter the miners who continued to march to Naypyidaw where they plan to deliver an appeal to President Thein Sein.
Local police were unavailable for comment concerning the whereabouts of the arrested miners.
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