Nearly 800 local people, including student and youth organizations, protested in the town of Matupi today against the planned venue of Matupi District’s new district administration office.
The protest, which started at 10am, was the third of its kind against the Chin State government’s plans to build the district administration office in Hpanai-Ngalai, a village located about nine miles from downtown Matupi.
According to protestors, local people are unhappy about the state government’s already approved plan to build the new district office so far from the town center.
“What we want is to build this district office in the downtown municipal area. There are many places available there, including the area near the current administration office. We want the [state]government to build this district office together with the current district office,” protest leader Salai Byat Thang Lian told Khonumthung news.
Local people and the town’s elders have already protested against the new venue twice. However, there has been no change in the situation, so students and youths decided to protest again.
According to Salai Byat Thang Lian, if the state government doesn’t listen to the voice of local people and goes ahead with its plans to build the district office in the disputed area, they will expand their protests to the entire Matupi area and beyond.
“If they [the state government]continue to build it, we will take our protest to Yangon and all of Matupi. If we don’t get what we want, we will protest again and again,” he said. Soe Htet, a spokesperson for the Chin State government, said that the choice of Hpanai-Ngalai as the location of the new district office doesn’t reflect a lack of respect for the people’s desire. The area was chosen by experts who conducted a survey of suitable sites, he said. If opposition to the decision continues, Matupi will suffer, he added.