Karen militia protest government’s use of violence in copper mine crackdown

The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army took to the streets in the Burma border town of Myawaddy today calling on the Burma government to apologies for the crackdown on Buddhist monks during the Letpandaung copper mine protest and to end its military offensive against the ethnic Kachin.

The 80-strong-protest was led by the DKBA and was joined by the Karen Peace Council, a Karen militia. The 80 protesters wore full army uniform marched through Myawaddy. Protesters held banners and large pictures of monks wounded in the Letpandaung cooper mine crackdown.

Major Saw San Aung, a DKBA officer spoke to Karen News about the protest.

“We staged this protest to call on the government to apologize for what they have done to the Buddhist monks during the Letpandaung crackdown. We also want the government to stop the offensive in Kachin State.”

The Commander of the Burma Army Division 77, responded to the DKBA demands and said that he will make sure the police officers who were guilty of beating up the monks would be persecuted. The DKBA warned the government that if there is no action taken against the police, the DKBA will continue its protest.

A Myawaddy resident who witnessed the protest spoke to Karen News.

“They [DKBA] marched from Bayingnaung Market to Kyat Khat Temple Road. They were shouting for the government to apologize to the Buddhist monks. The protest went around Myawaddy Town, then it headed back to Sone Zee Myaing.”

This is the first time the DKBA and the Karen Peace Council have staged a protest together.

On November 29, the Burma government cracked down on protesters at the Letpandaung copper mine – 70 Buddhist monks and 50 civilians were wounded.

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