Treating the Monks of Monywa

In November of last year, riot police descended on six camps of protesters outside the town of Monywa, near Mandalay in Upper Burma. Since the summer, a coalition of activists, monks and local people had been demonstrating against a mining project in the area which was a joint venture of a Chinese corporation and a company owned by the Myanmar military.1 In the biggest organized expression of dissent since democratic reforms were instituted by the government, the protesters were challenging the project because it has resulted in environmental degradation, forced relocations and the confiscation of 7800 acres of land. Demanding a closure of operations, they set up camps in the area and were disrupting work with lines of armed linked protesters that impeded the movement of trucks.