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Myanmar: Protesters demanding land compensation from Chinese-backed cement factory get five-year sentences

“Five Myanmar Villagers Get Five-Year Sentences in China Cement Factory Protest”, 20 March 2020

Five Myanmar villagers were sentenced to five years in prison each… on charges of destroying a factory building and vehicles during a protest against a Chinese-backed coal-powered cement factory in Mandalay region, a lawyer for the defendants said.

Residents of Aungthabyae village in Patheingyi township clashed with police and those in charge of the Alpha Cement Plant during a May 2019 protest against the construction of the factory near their community.

Some of the demonstrators reportedly had set four vehicles and part of the factory property on fire... 

An official from the Chinese company had filed charges against those sentenced… for illegally using explosives and destroying property.

The defendants’ attorney, Sithu, said… that video footage presented during the trial was faulty…

Some villagers were tried during an earlier trial, while others face additional charges at another court session scheduled for April 3. They have said that the charges are unlawful and that they will not attend…

The construction of the Alpha Cement Plant, a joint venture between Myanmar’s Myint Investment Group and China’s AnhuiConch Cement Company, began in December 2017. The plant is expected to produce 5,000 tons of cement a day.

During the May 2019 protest, villagers blocked factory vehicles from entering the area and demanded compensation for land they say they lost when an 18-foot-wide road was built as part of the construction work at the plant…

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