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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Myanmar Nuclear Plans Spark Protest

APProtesters rallying at the Russian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday over Russia's support of Yangon.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Myanmar activists staged a protest Tuesday outside the Russian Embassy in Malaysia, calling on Moscow to scrap plans to help build a nuclear research center in the military-ruled country.

Some 50 protesters gathered outside the Myanmar Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and marched two kilometers to the Russian Embassy, carrying banners that read "Support human rights," "Stop nuclear program" and "Russia: Stay out of Myanmar affairs."

Anti-riot police armed with tear gas, batons and shields stood watch outside the Russian Embassy but took no action against the crowd, which dispersed peacefully after 20 minutes.

In a protest letter that was read out during the demonstration, the activists denounced Russia's support of Yangon's military junta and the proposed nuclear center. They also expressed concern over Russia's logging activities in northern Myanmar, which they said had caused huge environmental damage.

"The position of Russia shows a lack of accountability to the international community," the letter said.

It urged the government to use its veto privilege in the United Nations Security Council to help end the military dictatorship in Myanmar and to free pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.

Russian Embassy officials could not be reached immediately for comment.

The Federal Atomic Energy Agency announced in May that it had agreed to help design and build a nuclear research center in Myanmar.

The center, which will be overseen by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, will have a 10-megawatt light-water research reactor, as well as facilities for processing and storing radioactive waste.