Crackdown on copper mine protest in Myanmar injures dozens hours before Suu Kyi visit

The Associated Press
Associated Press
A group of protesting villages who has blocked a road with rocks and wood guard their position in Letpadaung mine, Monywa township, northwestern Myanmar, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012. Hundreds of Buddhist monks and villagers occupying the mine, they said is causing environmental, social and health problems, defied a government order to leave by Wednesday, saying they will stay until the project is halted. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

MONYWA, Myanmar - Security forces used water cannons and other methods to crack down on protesters occupying a copper mine in Myanmar hours before opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was expected to visit there to hear the grievances.

Unexplained fires engulfed protest camps after the Thursday morning raid at the Letpadaung mine in northwestern Myanmar. Several protesters said dozens of Buddhist monks and villagers were injured.

The government had ordered protesters to evacuate the mine by Wednesday or face legal action. The protesters want the project halted because they say it is causing environmental, social and health problems.

Suu Kyi is scheduled to visit the mine around midday Thursday to hear the protesters' concerns.