Myanmar’s government has formally apologized to the country’s Buddhist monks over a violent crackdown on protesters at a Chinese-backed copper mine which injured more than 100 monks.
President’s Office Minister Hla Tun, along with other officials, apologized to senior and injured monks on Saturday after hundreds of maroon-robe clad monks had surged through the streets of Yangon and Mandalay, two of the country’s biggest cities, as well as Monywa, to demand an apology from authorities.
Shin Wirathu, one of the monks leading the protests, welcomed Saturday’s apology saying that previous apologies by officials were inadequate and directed at the wrong people.
“We are now satisfied as they made the apology publicly and legally,” the protest leader said. “And it’s pleasing that the ones who had the main responsibility for the crackdown apologized to the injured monks. We acknowledge it as a historic day but it’s a matter of forgive, not forget”.
At least 34 monks and 3 lay people are still at hospitals in Mandalay, with most of those hurt suffering with severe burns, reports the AP.
Police used water cannons, tear gas and smoke bombs to disperse the crowd who had set up camps at the Monywa copper mine in protest over environmental, social and health problems.