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Emboldened by political reforms, Myanmar villagers protest seized farmland from safety of monastery

Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters

Farmers cry inside a monastery, which they are using as a protest camp, in Monywa township, Myanmar, on Sept. 12. Villagers protested against the seizing of over 7,800 acres of farmland, involving 26 villages, for a copper mine project in Sarlingyi Township in Sagaing Division, about 450 miles northwest of Yangon. The mine project is a joint venture between a Chinese company and Myanmar's military-owned Myanmar Economic Holding Limited. Some villagers say they are satisfied with the compensations paid by the mining company while some others do not want to leave their village for compensation.

Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters

Villagers shout for their farms and villages during protests against the Lebadaung copper mine project in Sarlingyi township on Sept. 12.

The Associated Press reports: Students have joined farmers and other people who have been protesting the seizure of land for a copper mining project in northwestern Myanmar jointly owned by the military and a Chinese company.

The protest in Monywa in Sagaing region has been continuing since August, but expanded this week in response to the detention of its leaders, activists said Wednesday. The primary issue concerns the confiscation of nearly 8,000 acres (3,250 hectares) of land for the Monywa copper mine project, an area which includes 26 villages and several mountains.

Emboldened by Myanmar's changing political climate, farmers, villagers, factory workers and others are now staging demonstrations in various parts of the country over issues ranging from land confiscation to electricity cuts. Read the full story.

Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters

Farmers look at police from inside a monastery that they are using as a protest camp in Monywa township Sept. 12.

Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters

Police walk in a monastery that farmers are using as a protest camp in Monywa township Sept. 12.