Burmese police break up copper mine protests with flare guns, dozens injured by camp fires

Burmese security forces have broken up a rally at a copper mine in the north-west of the country on Thursday using water cannons and flare guns, while dozens have reportedly been injured by fires at adjacent protest camps.

The protests against the China-backed Letpadaung copper mine were dispersed by police just hours prior to a scheduled visit by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Time reports
that unexplained fires in the protest camps surrounding the mine have also left dozens of Buddhist monks and local residents injured, and that police had resorted to the use of flare guns to disperse demonstrators.

The government had ordered protestors against the potential environmental and health impacts of the Letpadaung copper development in north-west Burma to leave the mine on Wednesday.

The PRC-backed mine has already led to widespread evictions and land grabs, with a senior minister telling protestors earlier in the week that the government is "afraid" of a hostile response from China should the copper development be cancelled.