Clashes Over Land Seizures Batter the Police in Myanmar

SOURCE> Clashes Over Land Seizures Batter the Police in Myanmar By February 27, 2013

BANGKOK — When angry villagers clashed with security forces on Tuesday over land seizures in Myanmar, the police apparently got the worst of it.

Officials and a doctor at a hospital said on Wednesday that one officer had been killed and that dozens had been wounded; most of those whose injuries were severe were police officers.

The episode took place in Maubin, a township in the Irrawaddy River delta, when the police tried to disperse villagers who were protesting the taking of land by a private company. It was the second time in four months that a crackdown by the police related to land seizures turned violent. In November, dozens of monks were badly burned when police officers in riot gear used what a group of lawyers has said were white phosphorus incendiary devices, a weapon usually reserved for warfare.

Dr. Myint Soe, the head of the hospital in Maubin, said that of the 46 people who were treated there late Tuesday, 27 were officers. One was transferred to a larger hospital in Yangon and later died, the doctor said.

The issue of land seizures has dogged the administration of President Thein Sein, who took office in 2011 after five decades of military rule. A parliamentary committee investigating land seizures has been presented with evidence of numerous cases dating from before the transfer to civilian rule.

The protests in Maubin began last week, according to reports in the Myanmar news media, with several hundred farmers gathering at an agricultural project owned by a businessman, U Myint Sein. Farmers say that the land was confiscated in 1996 and then sold to Mr. Myint Sein, and that they were never compensated.

“We just want our land back,” said Khin Mar Win, 32, a villager. “All we have is our land.”

The protests continued on Wednesday. It was not clear what had touched them off now, 17 years after the seizures, though both police officers and villagers said that tensions over the project had been worsening in recent years.

“It is an old problem, but now it has exploded,” said Lt. Col. Tot Shwe of the police.

Colonel Tot Shwe would not comment on exactly how the episode on Tuesday had escalated into violence, except to say that the police had fired rubber bullets, not more lethal ammunition.

But a video posted on Facebook by The Voice, a private weekly news journal, appeared to show the police bracing for a confrontation, with a commander instructing a line of officers in riot gear about how to use their batons.

“When you beat, strike from above, like this,” the commander is heard to say. “Beat any parts you can reach.”

He adds, perhaps presciently, “Keep in mind that they also have hands — so they will defend themselves.”

Wai Moe contributed reporting from Maubin, Myanmar.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: February 27, 2013

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the amount of time that elapsed between land seizures in Myanmar and protests against those seizures. It was 17 years, not seven.

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3 Responses to “Clashes Over Land Seizures Batter the Police in Myanmar”

  1. drkokogyi Says:

    Jamaart Khannah in Hlaing Thar Yar was destroyed (by Racist Hardliners affiliated to government) on February 28 night. It is the desperate attempt to coverup the violent action on farmers whose land were ILLEGALLY ROBBED by Myanmar Military CRIMINALS and sold to private investors.

  2. drkokogyi Says:

    I just wrote yesterday>>>U Thein Sein, please do not try to divert attention by creating another Anti-Muslim Riots.

  3. drkokogyi Says:

    U Thein Sein should not keep quiet in a Deafening SILENCE. He could not pretend to be a fool, deaf and dumb. Resign if scared to control those criminals in Military, USDP and government.
    It is alsi It is also in RESPONSE to this>>>ေဖေဖၚ၀ါရီ၂၈ရက္ ည ၇ နာရီတြင္ ၂၄ နာရီလွ်ပ္စစ္မိးရရီွေ၇းဆႏၵျပပြဲ ျပည္ျမိဳ႕မွာစတင္လိုက္ပါျပိ
    မွ-Sky Blue>>http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=411846645572499&set=a.136466279777205.29959.100002415011240&type=1&theater

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