Tear gas fired on Myanmar protesters

Nov. 29, 2012 at 10:04 AM

BEIJING, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Myanmar confirmed Thursday that it used tear gas, smoke canisters and water cannon to break up a protest in the central Sagaing region.

Monks, farmers and other residents in the central Sagaing region of Myanmar protested against the expansion of a copper mine owned by the country's military and Chinese weapons manufacturer Norinco. Demonstrators said they were forced off their land to make way for the expansion.

The BBC cited a statement from the government saying riot control methods were used against the demonstrators. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrived in the region Thursday to hear demonstrators' concerns.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Myanmar and China had resolved relocation, compensation and environmental issues according to Myanmar's laws.

International investors have warmed to Myanmar following political reforms that began with general elections in 2010. The country's human rights record, however, is under scrutiny. Violence in the coastal state of Rakhine left thousands of people displaced and many political prisoners remain behind bars.

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