The 200 protesters who continue to “sit-in” at Ledi camp are suffering from a lack of food, water and medicine, said one of the protest organizers.
Comprising local farmers, Buddhist monks, students, NGO activists and local residents, the protest group has launched a sit-in since June to protest plans to build a series of copper mine through the mountain and the local landscape by two mining companies, Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited and China’s Wanbao Company.
Villagers said the mining companies have illegally confiscated more than 8,000 acres (3,237 hectares) of farmland from 26 villages in Sarlingyi since 2011.
Environmental groups say the copper mine and its residue waste poses grave hazards to the local residents and the ecosystem.
The protest organizers this week urged the authorities to let them carry food to the hilltop site by car and truck. Currently only motorbikes are permitted to ascend the mountain with supplies. Aung Soe said that the authorities were trying to create such unpleasant conditions that the protesters will move their camp elsewhere and vacate Latpadaung Mountain.
“Several times, the local authorities have come and ordered us to move to the foot of the mountain,” said Aung Soe. “But we will never move. We will sacrifice our lives if necessary. “From this camp on top of the mountain, we can travel quickly to any of the 33 projects sites if work begins. If we set up camp at the foot of the mountain, they will not care what we say. They will start work on the mountain by blasting.”