Suu Kyi demands apology for mine violence | Bangkok Post: news

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Suu Kyi demands apology for mine violence

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MONYWA, Myanmar - Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has demanded an apology for monks hurt in a violent police crackdown at a Chinese copper mine protest, after she held talks with the two sides. 

A Buddhist monk, who suffered burn injuries, walks with others after police fired water cannon and tear gas at villagers and monks protesting against the copper mine. (AFP photo) MONYWA, Myanmar - Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday demanded an apology for monks hurt in a violent police crackdown at a Chinese copper mine protest, after she held talks with the two sides.The Nobel laureate sought to mediate an end to the standoff, which saw scores of villagers and monks injured in the toughest clampdown on demonstrators since a new reform-minded government took power last year.Images of monks lying in hospital beds with severe burns have stoked public anger over the rough treatment, which had echoes of violent crackdowns that were the hallmark of decades of junta rule."We know that police officials are responsible for what happened but we need to know why they did it," Suu Kyi told reporters on Friday, during a visit to the area. "I think the monks need an apology."In an attempt to cool anti-Chinese sentiment, however, the veteran dissident struck a conciliatory tone towards Beijing and declined to back calls for an immediate halt to work on the Monywa mine in northern Myanmar."We have never regarded the People's Republic of China as our benefactor. But it is our neighbouring country so we want to be a friend," she added.In an attempt to find a solution to the dispute, Suu Kyi held separate meetings with officials from the mine operator followed by police and local residents opposed to the project.The pro-democracy leader, who is now a lawmaker, said afterwards that she hoped a parliamentary commission that was recently approved by MPs would be set up "as soon as possible" and would include local villagers.Opponents are calling for work at the mine -- a joint venture between Chinese firm Wanbao and military-owned Myanmar Economic Holdings -- to be suspended to allow environmental and social impact studies.But Suu Kyi backed the government's argument...

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