Letpadaungtaung farmers continue protests

About 50 local farmers continued their protest against Letpadaungtaung copper mine project on January 4 in conjunction with a ceremony to pray for an end to the conflict.They prayed for an end to the controversial project on the morning of January 4 and then staged the protest seeking compensation their confiscated lands in the afternoon.“No one have yet to deal with the crackdown on local farmers and land seizure. So we pray to our traditional Nats (spirits) for our losses,” said a local woman from Tone village.Local farmers staged a protest by chanting slogans: “the soonest removal of fences on our lands; the U-Paing (the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd) may fall; China’s Wanbao company gets out; and police and the authorities who oppress people may fall.”“Both our lands and crops were included in the fence. The company said crops will be paid to owners after the harvest. But the local farmers themselves want to harvest their crops. The region sees the scarcity of jobs during this season. Day-shift workers will get works if local farmers themselves have to do their harvest. There will be low yields if the company harvests our crops,” said a local farmer from Tone village.The Myanmar Wanbao Mining Copper Co Ltd will pay compensations for crops included in the company’s fencing after calculating the average crops prices for five years.A female protester Khin Win was shot dead during a clash between local farmers and police while the company erected fence on disputed lands. A series of protests has been taking place since then.