Mongolia: protesters launch hunger strike, self-immolate

The situation in Mongolia certainly seems to be escalating. But what can be gleaned of the politics? The ruling Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) certainly seems throroughly market-oriented and globalist, its name as much an anachronism as that of China’s Communist Party. Meanwhile, note the Buddhist and even shamanist imagery and tactics associated with the protesters. Again: dare we hope that this is a real indigenous ecological movement, with autonomy from any outside powers? From New Eurasia via Mongolia Web News, April 19:

Protester in Mongolia Lights Himself on Fire
Last night at 12:30am on Sukhbaatar square, a protester claimed he was going to light himself on fire. The hunger strike members thought nothing of it until they heard the screams from outside.

“Altandush” is a young astrologer who works for the Golomt Center of the Mongolian Shamanism Association. He is a good looking young man in his early thirties who has a wife, a good job and kids.

He took part in the protests because he constantly sees the low quality of life in Mongolia, and finally took action. First he called Eagle TV and they interviewed him about the current political protests and listened to his thoughts about how he believes the current issues should be solved. Following the interview he went out to Sukhbaatar square to join the rest of the protesters. On the way he stoped and got gasoline. He spoke with some of the fellow political activists and then did something no one believed he would do.

After lighting himself on fire people rushed around him and used their clothes to try and smother the flames before it was too late, even though he tried to fight them off. The police immediately took him to the hospital where he is in “stable,” condition, but has second degree burns over large areas of his body. While lying in the hospital he told doctors and reporters he had to drink vodka in order to be strong enough to hold the flame to himself.

When asked why he did it, he responded, “The Heads of the state and the Governors only stay in the city and look inwards. They don’t go out to the countryside and see those who are barely surviving, those who are living in the grave yards around Ulaanbaatar. They don’t even go to the ger districts [in Ulaanbaatar] and see how poor the people are.” He continued to say that it was too much for him to take. He can’t watch the Mongolian state let its people die from being so poor.

Today in a press conference the coordinator of the Resolute Reform movements urged the people not to use these types of violence, “This is a democratic state! Cutting or burning yourself is not the right answer.”

During his interview, Altandush didn’t have the will to show his face. His curled up body and the yellow puss dripping from the loosely wrapped bandages did more talking than his crippled body would ever allow.

“Of course I am a burn victim, and it hurts. But this is nothing compared to how poor the people of Mongolia are living. My pain could never equal the pain they live with.”

Protesters in Mongolia announce hunger strike

Mongolia Web News, Ulaanbaatar. In Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar 14 days have passed since protesters delivered their demands to the authorities. Protesters are still encamping on the main square. Today April 18, the protesters are continuing demonstrating for government respond for demands. Today around 11:30 am, protesters cast out ritual burning objects used in lamaist exorcism.

S. Ganbaatar, leader of “Radical Reform” movement meanwhile discussed his demand for the resignation of government with some MPRP members, and they said they will reply within April 27. From today a total of 524 protesters announcd they are going on a hunger strike.

Another two new civil movements joined protesters. One is “Shine Davalgaa/New Wave” and other civil movement is from Baganuur district, which is located on the outskirts of the Ulaanbaatar city.

See our last posts on Mongolia and the Great Game for Central Asia.