Burma - Locals Show Support for Arrested Power Station Protesters

Date of publication: 
30 June 2015

Anndin Village Tract locals went to Ye Town Police Station in large numbers to show solidarity with 26 locals who were arrested and taken in for investigation on 13 June before being charged under Article 4.

IMNA300601Locals who support the coal-fired power project in Anndin sent Ye Town Police a letter complaining about the behaviour of people opposed to the project. As a result of the letter the police took in 26 anti coal-power protesters, including the Hnit-Kayot Village Chairman, for questioning.

On hearing that the 26 protesters were being charged residents from four villages in Anndin Village Tract rushed to the police station on 25 June to show solidarity with the detained people and to ask to be included in the investigation.

About 350 villagers from Anndin, Hnit-Kayot, Ywa Thit, and Thar-Karan villages travelled the 14 miles to Ye Town using 19 trucks and 50 motorcycles.

U Nyut Win from Anndin Village, who came to the police station to support the accused said: “We also oppose the sale of the land. Why were only 26 villagers taken in to be investigated? It is as if they were under investigation on our behalf, so we came here to join them.”

The villagers turned themselves into the police to join the 26 accused people. Ye town Police took their names and said that the case would proceed in accordance with the law.

An official who is conducting the investigation said: “Now, we are just at the stage of questioning the accused [who are already in custody]. Those who came now will be also be questioned individually.”

After police received the letter of complaint the accused were taken to Ye Town Police Station on 13 June where they were questioned by Police Head Aung Myint Thein from Thanbyuzayat Township Police Force. Officials from Ye Town Police Station also questioned the accused later that day.

The proposed coal-fired electricity plant project is to be built by the Toyo-Thai company with a $2700 million USD investment, and once it comes into operation, the plant will be capable of producing 1280 Megawatts of electricity. On 9 April a memorandum of agreement (MoA) was signed between Toyo-Thai, the union government and the ministry of electricity.

Ever since it was announced locals have continuously opposed the the coal-fired project. On 14 December 2014 about 500 people led by the Ye township Social Society Group held a protest march against the project in Ye Town.

After the Toyo-Thai company signed the MoU with the government on 5 May 2015 about 6,000 locals staged a protest on a football field in Anndin Village.

Edited in English by Mark Inkey for BNI