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Rathidaung: Police forces in a northern town of Arakan seized several anti-Shwe Gas t-shirts on Tuesday from youths who were wearing them for a campaign against the plan to sell gas from Shwe Gas Project in Arakan State to China, said a community leader who participated in the event.

Rathidaung Rathidaung Jetty
Over ten youth in Rathidaung were forced by police to take off the t-shirts so the police could take them when the youth were walking around the town, which is located 20 miles north of Sittwe, the capital of Arakan.

"On the t-shirts, we printed some words against the Shwe Gas Project. Because of this, Police Inspector U Tun Tha and Corporal Hla Shwe came and seized t-shirts from us while we were walking on the streets in our town. Moreover, police officials gathered a list of participants in the campaign, but we do not know what they did with the list," said the community leader.

When they seized the t-shirts, police warned the youths who had participated by wearing them not to travel outside of town.

"The police official told us not to travel to other places from the town in the coming days as we were required to be interrogated about the campaign against Shwe Gas. We are now under surveillance by the police authority," he said.

However the youths, who are leading the campaign, have vowed to carry out the campaign to the end.

"Even though police seized t-shirts from us we will carry the campaign in our state for totally ending [the gas project]. The Shwe Gas Project is not beneficial for our people and it is only for China. It is our duty to oppose the project and to prevent our natural resources. In the next few days, the campaign would be continued widely in major towns of Arakan like Sittwe and Kyauk Pru," the youth said.

On the t-shirts, one word on the front calls to stop the Shwe Gas Project, and on the back are three sentences as follows: "Use national gas for national interests", "Should Arakanese people suffer for a gas project for Chinese people?", and "Stop the greedy, preserve the environment in Arakan State".

The anti-Shwe Gas campaign has come about after Energy Minister U Than Htay said that natural gas obtained from the Shwe natural gas fields will be exported to China through the Burma - China natural gas pipeline, and the gas can not be used in Arakan against the bilateral agreement with China.


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