Hunger protest forced to cease


Compromise hasn't deterred these protesters from starving themselves
The hunger protest by 7 citizens on Sukhbaatar Square was forced to cease when they were taken to hospitals for necessary treatment by policemen around 11:30 pm, on April 14.
The People’s Union to Demand Promise started its hunger protest on 09 April, demanding a referendum on whether voters are confident in the current Parliament or not. The hunger protest was announced
by seven people; head of PUDP D. Battsogt, general coordinator of PUDP G. Uyanga, head of ‘My Mongolian Earth’ Movement P. Bold, head of ‘Undesnii Soyombo’ Movement B. Lkhagvajav, head of ‘Undesnii Khas’ Movement D. Nanjid, as well as individuals D. Ganbaatar and D. Ninj. Medical doctors at the Sukhbaatar District Hospital were monitoring the health condition of the hunger protesters. In accordance with a request by the medical doctors, the Governor of Sukhbaatar District made a decision to involve the protestors in compulsory treatment to halt the increasing risk that would complicate the health state of the protestors.
Policemen took the hunger protestors to different hospitals, broke up over 30 people that were protesting by sitting on Sukhbaatar Square, and took away their ger. Supporters reported to the press that the hunger protestors were carried by force and results of their medical test were not so bad. However, Municipal Police Department chief S. Baatarjav denied it saying, PUDP received permission to organize a sitting protest from April 5-8, but they broke the law by exceeding the days of protest. For the  purpose of protecting the lives and  health of these people, 200 policemen took the hunger protestors without any force to hospitals. On the other side, the protestors did not show any disapproval.”
Prior the event the hunger protestors claimed that they would continue their position to protest and ompromise this matter only when Parliament releases a decision to conduct the referendum.
On April 12, President Elbegdorj met with Parliament Speaker D.Demberel, Parliament’s MPRP Group Leader D. Lundeejantsan, Parliament’s Democratic Party Group Deputy Leader L. Gamtumur and Chairman of State Institutions Standing Committee U. Enkhtuvshin and gave directives regarding certain issues. The President expressed his position that it would be appropriate for Parliamentary representatives to meet with the striking citizens on Sukhbaatar Square. The President also said, “The demands from these people are closely related to current legal and other actions facing the state. However, people need to refrain from political protest methods that are dangerous to their very lives, liberty and health. There are many ways people can express their opinions, enjoy the freedom of speech in a democratic country like Mongolia, and it is proper to solve any issues democratically through open negotiations.” The same day, advisors to the President met with the representatives of People’s Movement to Demand Promise who are on a strike on Sukhbaatar square. Human Rights and Public Participation Policy Advisor Ms. Sosormaa, recently appointed to this position, and Public Relations Adviser Mr. Ganbaatar met with the strikers to observe their health conditions, the environment for exercising human rights, and to discuss ways to resolve the related issues through meaningful negotiations.
On April 13, Parliament’s Legal Standing Committee chairman B. Bat-Erdene, Environment, Foods and Agriculture Standing Committee chairman B. Batbayar, MPs D. Dondog and P. Altangerel met with the hunger protestors at the State House. The MPs offered them to review their strict position to announce a hunger strike, carry out a referendum, and seek ways to resolve it by means of talks and understanding. B.Bat-Erdene said, “We responded to the demands you made to Parliament. We studied your demands to carry out a referendum in turn. It must be resolved within the frame of the law because it is a matter belonging to Parliament’s prerogative rights. Therefore, we consider your demand to carry out a referendum as
inappropriate. We Mongolians have a tradition to resolve any issue in a peaceful way. Thus, it is possible to avoid strict forms of protest that put your lives at risk and resolve the matter in conciliation.”
MP B. Batbayar expressed that he does not consider the referendum as a decisive step to tackle the matters and said, “It might cause instability and raise a complicated situation in political life or defame the State’s reputation. For this reason, we should look for different ways and forms to resolve it”. MP P. Altangerel said that the current legal system causes such problems to arise and working groups from two sides need to develop accurate talks in order to establish the right legal environment. D. Battsogt and G. Uyanga said that they were not for sitting in the parliament after dismissing the parliament and people talk much about mistakes of the parliament. “Because parliament did not accept our demand, we demand to resolve the disputable matters by conducting a referendum.” Head of the Radical Reform Movement D. Ganbaatar criticized the establishment of the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement by breaking the law without hearing opinions of scientists and experts, as well as taking a backward step to social welfare policy and MPs violated laws themselves. They requested the MPs to grant Ghers (national dwelling) to 20 countryside people who are taking part in the protest and to give attention to the case of a man who crushed the protestors Gher by a car attack . MPs repeatedly requested them to stop this harsh form of protest which can negatively affect their lives and health conditions and resolve the matter by means of conciliation. MPs Z. Altai and S. Enkhbat and DP member J. Batzandan and O. Magnai who were former leaders of Civil Movement Party also met the protestors. ‘MONFEMNET’ NGO for Mongolian women sent a letter of demand to the City Governor and Ulaanbaatar Mayor G. Monkhbayar. The letter demands to take all required preventive measures for people who are struggling for founding equal political and social rights and just democratic governance, from deterioration of their health conditions, and foremost, provide people on hunger protest with a warm Gher and give medical services to those who are partaking in political sitting. Besides the civil movements, teachers and workers of health sectors recently organized demonstrations to demand a salary increase. On April 8, about 4,000 medical workers demonstrated in front of Health Ministry. They decided to demonstrate because they submitted their salaryraise issue to the Health Minister 6 times since October of 2009, but the issue have not been resolved. An issue to raise salaries and retirement pensions is in discussion at the Parliament. At the meeting of Parliament’s MPRP group they supported to increase salary and retirement pension in two stages, from July 1 and October 1 and to resolve it during the discussion of budget adjustment. Social Welfare and Labor Minister T. Gandi said, “The issue on how to raise people’s salary is being discussed in government. We are studying the capability of the budget. This issue should be discussed within the frame of the labor and social conciliation agreement. The main thing is to reach an understanding and agreement. Generally, Mongolia has over 1,000,040,000 people with working ability, of which only 16 percent work in state-run organizations. 84 percent work in the private sector. Therefore, we should study the capacity to raise salaries of not only state workers, but in the private sector as well. As the issue of a salary increase is discussed,we need to resolve it as a whole.
Source: The Mongol Messenger (MONGOLIA’S FIRST ENGLISH WEEKLY PUBLISHED BY MONTSAME NEWS AGENCY)
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