2000 police mobilized, 100 people injured, 50 arrested, 1 killed, Internet cut off, highways shutdown in Naiman Banner of Southern Mongolia
After a three-week standoff, on April 4, 2015, more than 2,000 Chinese riot police have been mobilized to crack down on the villagers of Daachin-tal (“da qin ta la” in Chinese) Township and nearby villages in eastern Southern (Inner) Mongolia’s Naiman Banner (“nai man qi” in Chinese, a banner is equivalent to a county). The villagers have been staging a protest against the Naiman Chemical Refinery Zone for polluting the area with toxic waste.
Video clips of the protest scene received by the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) show Chinese riot police chasing Mongolian villagers on April 5, 2015. Gunshots are heard sporadically. Photos and video footage show that many villagers were beaten, injured, and hospitalized on April 5, 2015 during the clash between more than 1,000 villagers and 2,000 riot police.
“Rubber bullets are being shot at protesters, and high-pressure water guns and tear gas are also being used,” Ms. Geegee, a Mongolian woman from the community, told SMHRIC over the phone.
“Yesterday, about 100 people were injured and 50 were arrested. One of the injured was confirmed dead in the hospital today,” Geegee told SMHRIC.
As for the toxic effects of the chemical waste that is discharged directly onto the grazing lands and farmlands of Daachin-tal Township and nearby villages, Geegee says, “An increasing number of villagers have become sick, and the miscarriage rate is soaring among pregnant women here. Our livestock is being poisoned to death, and crops and vegetables are inedible.”
Communications from affected areas revealed that, starting on April 4, 2015, more than 2,000 riot police have been called from neighboring areas to put down this massive protest. Protesters flew banners reading, “Strongly protesting the chemical refinery zone’s serious pollution” and “Return the Naiman people’s clean water and blue sky.”
“Police forces are mobilized from all banners across Tongliao City and even from the neighboring area of Ulaanhad [Chifeng in Chinese],” Mr. Changgee, another local Mongolian, told SMHRIC over the phone.
“Defending our rights to grazing land, clean water, and clean air is the main goal of this protest,” Changgee said when asked about the villagers’ demands.
According to Mr. Munkhee, another local Mongolian who was at the protest scene today, riot police have formed a defense line surrounding the entire chemical refinery zone and separated the villagers to prevent them from gathering together to continue to the protest.
“The Internet is cut off completely. Even phone calls seem to be blocked now. I can’t even talk to my friends in the village. Photos and video clips cannot be transferred from my phones,” Munkhee told SMHRIC via Web chat.
“We heard that the Central Government is informed of our protest,” Munkhee said in his last Web chat message, “fearing further unrest, the banner authorities say to ‘arrest anyone who protests.’”