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Noyon Mountain activists cleared from protest site

By M.ZOLJARGAL

Social media has been flooded with photos and videos of protesters being surrounded by police sent in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday morning to remove hunger striking protesters, reportedly to deliver them to a hospital for medical treatment, as ordered by the Chinggeltei District Mayor.
Six people were on hunger strike outside the Statue for Victims of Political Persecution, while 70 more protesters were camped next to the statue in gers to support the hunger strikers expressing their opposition to gold mining operations being authorized at Noyon Mountain.
The protesters had been on hunger strike for 12 consecutive days before their removal from the protest site on Tuesday. The police cited concerns about their declining health as the reason for yesterday’s actions.
Medical evaluations of the protesters were said to prove that they needed urgent medical treatment, and an order was issued by the Chinggeltei District Mayor’s Office to have them hospitalized, as reported at a press conference given by the police on Tuesday morning.
Protesters and other witnesses described the police action as “forced capture”, contrary to statements by the police.
A large number of police wearing riot gear surrounded the hunger strikers and allegedly used “kill switch” technology to disrupt mobile network and internet connections, according to supporters of the Save Noyon Mountain movement.

The protesters started the hunger strike shortly before Tsagaan Sar and continued during the holiday. They are members of the Bosoo Khukh Mongol Movement working to protect Noyon Mountain from mining activities and oppose changes to the law prohibiting mineral extraction at river basins and forested areas.
They told journalists on Monday that they would not end the hunger strike until their demands were met and would also stop drinking water. On the following day, the police arrived at the protest site.
The police told the media that the protesters on hunger strike saw the ordinance from the Deputy Mayor’s Office and peacefully agreed to go to a hospital. The police claim that the protesters dismantled their gers on the spot, and of their own free will, were transported to a hospital.
However, protesters and supporters who witnessed the incident are reporting events differently. The witnesses say that the police captured the protestors and hunger strikers and dismantled the gers with force on the order of their superiors.
Chief of the Media and Public Communication Division at the General Police Department, B.Baatarkhuu, talked about the incident with News.mn.
“The protesters and the active hunger strikers cordially agreed to the ordinance and were delivered to the hospital. Other protesters and their supporters didn’t oppose the ordinance either and dismantled the gers themselves. There was no misunderstanding or any violence involved in the act,” said B.Baatarkhuu.
When asked about why the police couldn’t approach the hunger strikers in the daytime, B.Baatarkhuu explained, “It took the hospital a long time to secure rooms and find available doctors to treat the hunger strikers. We had to close the roads surrounding the location they were conducting the hunger strike, which was located in the city center. That is why we organized the activity at night, when there is less traffic.”
Video footages made by witnesses showed the police surrounding the protest site, refusing to let people see what was happening to the hunger strikers. Bosoo Khukh Mongol Movement supporters said that they had no confirmation that the hunger strikers were actually being taken to a hospital.
Photos and video of the incident have been posted on the Bosoo Khukh Mongol Movement’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007572735640&fref=ts.

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=13536

Posted by on Feb 25 2015. Filed under Онцлох мэдээлэл. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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