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Published on Thursday, 29 November 2012 11:07
Police raiding the protestors' camps (Photo - EMG)
Witnesses said the police use flammable chemical weapons while dispersing the demonstration camps from the Lapadaungtaung Mountain copper mine project.
“I was at the main camp in front of the Wangpon Company when it happened. At around three in the morning, they tried to remove us by pumping water from the fire engines. They tried for four or five times. But the demonstrators were still there. Then, they use some kind of flammable bombs. They are not grenades. They exploded in the air and fiery projectiles fall down from the sky. Everyone and everything touched by the projectiles caught fire and their skins are burnt out. It is obvious that is not tear gas. Not a single drop of tear fall by the bombs but only fire is caused by the bombs. Currently the injured monks and people are being treated in the nearby monasteries and houses. Some of the seriously injured persons were sent to Hmonrwar hospital and one seriously injured monk was sent to Mandalay hospital.” said a witness.
“Clashes started at 3 am today. Before water cannons were used, we heard gun firing three times. Then, the clashes stated. Police started firing water cannon at those in the protest camps. Ten minutes later, they threw fire batons at the protestors, causing blazes and explosions. Sayadaws (senior monks) urged us to escape and flee. So we had to flee to some hills or valleys. Protestors, mostly monks were injured. We saw some monks lifted into police cars. Now, the protestors are in a safe place,” said a protestor from Maungtangate protestors’ camp.
According to latest developments, more than 50 people, most of them suffering from burns, are being hospitalized in Monywa. A monk who was seriously injured was sent to Mandalay General Hospital. A forceful clampdown has led to about a hundreds of protestors injured and there may be some deaths and detainees.
Flamethrower is a kind of military weapon and it can control the flame up to the distance of 20 feet. Flamethrower is not allowed to be used even at the battle field. It can be used only when it is in a difficult condition, for example, banker or inside the building. It can be used in cracking down the enemies. It is banned for use according to Geneva Convention. Another kind is incendiary rounds and it can be called Napalm bomb. It is a type of firearm ammunition containing a compound that burns rapidly and causes fire. The flames of this firearm cannot be put out. It was used in Vietnamese war. It is heard of the monks suffering burnt injuries in annihilating them by the government. Tear gas is not fire bomb.
“The gas bombs are designed to build not to arm the public or protesters. But the bombs are used for breaking up the groups. If it was true that the police officers were using weapons that can burn the protesters, it can be the international crime,” ex-major Soe Thein Win of Myanmar Army Weapon Factory No.2, posted on his facebook. Soe Thein Win is now living abroad.
The EMG has contacted to the head office of the Myanmar Police Force (MPF) to verify what kind of weapons were being used in this recent situation of the Lapadaungtaung copper mine project earlier this morning. The official of the head office of the MPF said “The chief police and government officials were holding a meeting at the Presidential Office.”
When EMG reporter asked the Monywa district police station about the use of weapons and the number of police forces, the police-in-charge replied, "Have you witnessed the incident, haven't you? We are not responsible to answer your question."
The officer of Sagaing Region Police Station also replied that they cannot the kind of weapons and number of forces in the raid.