Monywa, Myanmar: Security forces used water cannons and other riot gear on Thursday to clear protesters from a copper mine in northwestern Myanmar, wounding villagers and Buddhist monks just hours before opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrived in the area to hear their grievances.
The crackdown at the Letpadaung mine near the town of Monywa risks becoming a public relations and political fiasco for the reformist government of President Thein Sein, which has been touting its transition to democracy after almost five decades of repressive military rule.
The environmental and social damage allegedly produced by the mine has become a popular cause in activist circles, but was not yet a matter of broad public concern. However, hurting monks -- as admired for their social activism as they are revered for their spiritual beliefs -- is sure to antagonise many ordinary people, especially as Mrs Suu Kyi's visit highlights the events.
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