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Tokyo: Over 100 Burmese nationals staged a protest on the 27th of November outside the Burmese embassy in Tokyo demanding the suspension of the Shwe Gas Project in western Burma’s Arakan State.

The demonstration was organized by the Arakan League for Democracy in exile in Japan.

“The so-called U Thein Sein-led democratic regime has recently cracked down on the peaceful demonstrations that have been demanding 24-hour electricity supply from the power generated from the gas derived from the Shwe Gas Project by arresting and threatening the people who were involved in the demonstrations. The regime’s action towards these civilians is totally unacceptable and we have come here to protest against the regime”, said Ko Kyaw Than Hlaing, the General Secretary of ALD (Japan).

Protestors have demanded that the Burmese regime suspend the Shwe Gas Project from which natural gas will be exported to China through the new pipeline and to give 24-hour electricity in Arakan State with the power generated by gas from the Shwe Gas Project.

Kyaw Than Hlaing said the Shwe Gas Project was started during the reign of the SPDC military regime and the current U Thein Sein-led so-called civilian regime is still continuing the project without looking into the forcible land confiscations and other rights abuses which resulted from the construction of many components of the Shwe gas project - including the pipeline to China in Arakan State.

He said that the project however would not benefit civilian sectors in Arakan State and other states and divisions along the pipeline corridor to China except those who continued to hold a tight grip over the country whether they were in military or civilian uniforms.

Ko Hla Aye Maung, the president of the ALD (Japan), also said, “We are mainly demanding that the Burmese regime suspends the project until genuine democratic government acceptable to all emerges in Burma and proceeds to provide 24-hour electricity in Arakan State.

He said the Burmese regime has deployed 36 army battalions along the pipeline corridor and the battalions have been widely engaged in forcible land confiscations and other human rights violations on civilians along the corridor.

Ko Won Aung, the coordinator of the Shwe Gas Movement based in Thailand, said that activities to stop the Shwe Gas Project would be carried out at home and abroad.

“It is clear insult to the local Arakanese peoples that the regime has stated that the gas found in Arakan State would be exported to China and would not be used for the local development. So, we, as local residents, need to unite and oppose that kind of business project in our region together in order to get benefits from the project”, said Ko Won Aung.

According to the demonstrators, the Burmese embassy in Tokyo made no reaction keeping its gates closed while the protest staged outside it.
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