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Monywa: Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi urged protesters yesterday to accept a controversial Chinese-backed mine that was the scene of a violent crackdown last year, or risk hurting the economy.
The Nobel laureate dismayed some villagers living near the copper mine in Monywa, northern Myanmar, with her warning that nearby communities and the wider economy would suffer if the controversial project is abandoned.
“If we stop this project, it will not benefit local people or the country,” Suu Kyi said during a visit to the area.
“The other country (China) might think that our country cannot be trusted on the economy,” she added. “We have to get along with the neighbouring country whether we like it or not.”
Speaking to about 500 people at a second village, Suu Kyi urged those unhappy with her to “protest at my house”.
The issue has left Suu Kyi with the awkward balancing act of reaching out to downtrodden local people while fulfilling her new role as a parliamentarian.
She failed to appease the villagers and many spoke disparagingly about her lack of support for their action, in particular after November’s brutal crackdown, which carried echoes of the former junta’s response to dissent.