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Published on Friday, 30 November 2012 20:49
Monks and locals were seriously injured as riot police cracked down on protest camps at China-backed Lapadaungtaung copper mine project in central Myanmar. Some say that the bombs used by the police might not be tear bombs and smoke bombs. Regarding this topic, the Eleven Media Group had an interview with Dr Khin Maung Nyo who has received a doctorate in chemistry.
“Firebomb is made up of gasoline, Benzene, and smoke gases. When the bomb sticks at the touching place, it starts burning after getting high temperature.”
Q: The skins of protesters were ripped off and their muscles were seriously injured amid the crackdown. Many people are having the doubt whether or not such injuries are a common result of the firebombs and tear bombs being used in dispersing international protest.
Ans: I have never heard of such serious injuries in the crackdown on international unrest. Although the authorities insisted that they used only smoke bombs and tear bombs, the witnesses do not buy it. Even they used only smoke bombs and tear bombs, these explosive materials might be strong. They are strong enough to kill people. The United States air force dropped the firebombs on Trang Bang Village near Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The photo of an unclothed child running with burn injuries was a historic document. The injuries caused by the attacks of firebombs and tear bombs in recent crackdowns might be the most serious in the history of using these explosive since the World War I.
Q: What kinds of bombs are used by the authorities when they crush the riot?
Ans: Tear bombs and firebombs are used to crush the riots. CN and CS are the most widely used and known tear bombs. Tear bombs are mostly used in cracking down protests and some terrorist attacks including hijackings. CS is more widely used as it is less poisonous, and injuries induced can be easily treated. Firebomb is made up of gasoline, Benzene and smoke gases. When the bomb sticks at the touching place, it starts burning after getting high temperature.
Q: What impacts will come out as the copper mine protest has drawn the attention from the international community?
Ans: The government should publicise the type of bombs they used in the crackdown, and allow the inspection of international investigation teams. Moreover, the Lapaduangtaung copper mine project should be reviewed for environmental and social impacts.
Q: The authorities dispersed the protesters by using the suspected chemical weapons. What are the possible health problems for the injured protesters?
Ans: As the diseases caused by such weapons have not been examined in other countries so far, it is still too early to talk about any consequent diseases. These injured persons might suffer lung diseases and some epidemic infections as the skins were torn.
Q: Do you have any additional comments on this incident?
Ans: Such incidents are possible to occur time and again in the country. Negative impacts would arise when projects concerning public welfare are implemented without transparency. About 54 per cent of Myanmar land is rich in precious mineral resources. If they are explored regardless, the gravel pits will happen in the country. We should learn a lesson from this project, and the future projects should be publicised to assess environmental and social impacts.