Burmese Cops Sieze Land, Villagers Fight Back

by Naw Noreen / Democratic Voice of Burma

Police and local villagers were reportedly injured this morning in Sagaing Division’s Yinmarbin Township, when police arrived with bulldozers to uproot toddy palm trees on 100 acres of confiscated land.

The land has been designated as a building ground for the 28th Police Battalion, and villagers say no compensation has been disbursed.

Residents of Ohntonbin village said around 200-300 policemen with three bulldozers began uprooting their toddy plantations on Thursday.

Kyi Lay, a local villager, said four were arrested on Friday morning after a violent scuffle with the police. Both civilians and officers sustained injuries, she said.

“Policemen showed up and started bulldozing our toddy plantations, so we went to stop them and they bashed us with batons,” said Kyi Lay. “A lot of us were beat up and hurt by the police today.”

Kyi Lay said her 70 toddy trees were all bulldozed, uprooted from her two acres of land.

Police pledged to compensate the villagers during negotiations in October 2013, but some villagers refused to take the proposed settlement. Construction began on plots where villagers accepted the offer, with Police saying that they would continue to work with the other landowners to reach an agreement, according to Myint Zaw, another villager.

“But after repeatedly failing in the negotiations, they decided to come in and start bulldozing toddy tress,” he said.

Police in Yinmarbin were unavailable for comment.

Villager scales tree to stop bulldozers.

Villager scales tree to stop bulldozers.

 

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