The press conference in Yangon (Photo – EMG)
Witnesses confirmed that police used flammable chemical weapons in dispersing protesters during last week’s clashes over a Chinese-run copper mine project in northwest Myanmar.
This was disclosed at a press conference held by environmental, law, human rights and chemistry experts yesterday. A government spokesperson earlier denied the use of chemical weapons to break up the crowd in Lapadaungtaung on November 28.
Chemistry expert Dr Khin Maung Nyo said firebombs were used during the crackdown. He urged the government to disclose the kind of weapons used and their source.
“Myanmar is a country with plenty of natural resources [but] this condition is causing danger to Myanmar people because of avaricious persons,” said Soe Nyunt, chairman of MBNS, adding that the military should not be a “business organisation”.
Protesters are alleging massive land grabbing under the military rule, leading to the displacement of farmers to make way for the project.
Soe Nyunt also said the 2008 Constitution has led to “mismanagements” in the government. He called for amendments to a charter that was exploited by “a dictator to protect their properties for many years”.
The conference was attended by chairman of the Forest Resource Environment Development and Conservation Association, chairman of Myanmar Birds and Nature Society, a consultant of Business and Law, the co-founder of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters network, chemistry experts, members of the 88 Generation Students Group and members of Ex-political Prisoners Group.