Suu Kyi calls for apology over flare-gun onslaught

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Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said authorities must apologise for a violent crackdown on Buddhist monks and others in northwest Burma yesterday.

Speaking yesterday to a crowd of more than 10,000 in the town of Monywa, she said people had the right to ask why non-violent protesters who had occupied the nearby Letpadaung copper mine for 11 days had been treated so harshly.

It was the government’s biggest crackdown on demonstrations since reformist president Thein Sein took office last year.

Police used water cannon, tear gas and smoke bombs to break up the protest early on Thursday. Weapons that protesters described as flare guns caused severe burns and set shelters alight. A Monywa hospital nurse said 27 monks and one other person were treated for burns.

“I want to ask, ‘What was their purpose of doing this?’ Frankly, there’s no need to act like this,” Ms Suu Kyi said.